Dear Members and Advocates,

Today, a new administration will be sworn in to govern our State. Ron DeSantis will become Florida’s 46th governor and his arrival will have an immediate impact on the State. Because three of our seven state Supreme Court justices are required by law to retire this week, he will be the one to select their replacements, which he will have to do within the next few weeks. The three retiring justices happen to be left-leaning – knowing DeSantis is right-leaning, we expect a significant change in course for our Supreme Court in the coming years. Thanks to a Miami Herald public records request, we also know who the “big donors” to his campaign were. That list included private prison company Geo Group and lobbyist Ron Book.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari (did not elect to hear) two sex offender cases we were closely following. Vasquez v. Foxx (an appeal from the 7th Circuit concerning residency restrictions) and Bethea v. North Carolina (an appeal from N.C. to determine whether the retroactive application of North Carolina’s sex offender registration statute violates the ex post facto clause). While we were hopeful that the SCOTUS would pick these cases, knowing only one percent (1%) of cases that petition to be heard are actually selected to be heard, we recognized it was a longshot and continued full-steam-ahead on our own challenges.

In positive news; in our own Ex Post Facto Plus challenge, the motion to proceed anonymously was granted! That means that the John Doe plaintiffs will be able to remain as Doe’s. Although this is only one battle in what will undoubtedly be a long war, it’s a good win and we’ll take it!

Some other good news to share; David Feige’s award winning film, “Untouchable” will begin streaming on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. The film takes a close look at the registry, its purpose, and its implications on registrants and their families. It is particularly relevant to us here in Florida, because it features the origins of many of the restrictions initiated by lobbyist Ron Book and the homeless encampment in Miami-Dade that he created. The film will become available on January 15th and once it is released, we will launch a call to action, asking our members to ensure their legislators, members of law enforcement, friends and associates all watch this important film and begin to question the efficacy of these laws.

Finally, this week we posted a couple member submissions to our site. FloridaActionCommittee.org is a community where we can all share our stories and seek support. It’s important to us that we not only post what we want you to know, but what you want your fellow members to know as well. While we try our best to keep on top of what’s affecting our population in Florida, it’s impossible for a handful of us to cover everything. If you know of an event in your area, a job opportunity, have an experience you want to share (good or bad) or come across an article you think might be of interest to other members, please write to [email protected] and ask us to share it. We want to hear from you too!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee

SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

 

Miami-Herald: FAC Opinion Published

An opinion piece in response to a recent article in the Miami Herald was published today. The text of the response and an image of the article as it appeared are below. Your December 31, 2018 article, “Report: Number of sex offenders living in Florida is growing.”…

Member Submission: Age of Consent

Following was sent in by a member. I recently spoke to an attorney in Georgia. I was inquiring about the possibility to relocate and my residency and registration requirements as well as the time frame and procedure to be removed from Georgia registry. He informed me…

Member Submission: Son Denied College Admission Because of Registry Status

The following is the text of a letter from a mother, whose son (a person required to register as a sex offender) was prevented from pursuing his education, because of his status. It has been redacted to remove personal information, but the name of the school remains…

Unnecessary Shaming: How Sex Offender Stigma Breaches the Irrelevant

Last night’s Florida Action Committee monthly member call was all about the family. Our guest, Shelley Kavanagh, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently working at the Centre for Offender Rehabilitation Education (CORE), is working on programs that aim to provide…

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