Dear Members and Advocates,

With 2019 being the “Year of the Family”, for our 2019 legal challenge we decided not to bring a lawsuit challenging registration requirements on behalf of people on the registry, but a lawsuit challenging registration requirements on behalf of people not on the registry! The lawsuit will be brought on behalf of their family, friends, employers and others impacted by the registry. Anyone who knows someone on the registry also knows the devastating impact the laws have on their children, spouses and other individuals in their lives. This lawsuit is for spouses whose vehicles are registered and flagged, children who can’t have a parent watch them graduate or perform in a school play, roommates who are prevented from decorating their home for the holidays and others who have done nothing wrong but experience the collateral consequences of having someone in their lives on the registry.

The concept for the challenge was approved by our Board of Directors on the last Board call and announced on last week’s monthly member call. More information will be forthcoming on this challenge. In the meantime, if you are not a registrant, but a family member, roommate, employer or other person who is suffering consequences of having a loved one on the registry and would like to be considered as a named plaintiff (note, we are only looking for persons who do not mind being named in the lawsuit), please contact [email protected].

Next, we need to ask a favor. Fall is the season for “sex offender panic”. Back to school and Halloween is when you start seeing stories warning parents to check the registry to make sure their school bus stops are not located near the home of the registrant or they know which homes to avoid. In the past couple weeks at least a half dozen stories have come out from across the country about outraged parents complaining about a registrant living too close to a school bus stop. The favor is; when you see one of these stories online, please post a comment under the story reminding the public that there is no widespread abduction of kids from school bus stops or sexual assaults on Halloween.

These stories cite insane statistics about the “number of children reported missing”, but according to the National Center for Missing Children’s own statistics, “only 0.1 percent are reported as having been abducted by a stranger. The vast majority, typically more than 95 percent, ran away.” When there is an actual abduction, it’s almost always the non-custodial parent. Last year, Reason.com’s Lenore Skenazy wrote a story about the absurdity of the Halloween panic which cited a study of 67,000 cases of child molestation which found ZERO increase in the instance of sexual molestation on Halloween. The irony is children are more likely to be abducted walking to school than waiting at a bus stop and they are more likely to get struck by a car while crossing the street to avoid passing in front of a registrant’s home than being assaulted by someone on the list.

Finally, this past week, we got some very strong persuasive authority from a Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, which ruled on the constitutionality of a suspected terrorist “watch list”. As attorneys Val Jonas and Todd Scher, who represent the Plaintiffs in the Ex Post Facto PLUS case, wrote in their Notice of Supplemental Authority, that list was found to “ (1) violate[] fundamental right to travel, where broad dissemination of status to multiple law enforcement and security agencies as well as to private persons assisting in security functions produced adverse consequences, such as delays, inconveniences, and additional screenings, both burdening and chilling “general  right  of  free  movement”;  and  (2)violate[]  guarantee against  stigma-plus,  where  broad dissemination of  plaintiffs’ status  as suspected terrorists “would reasonably be expected to affect any interaction” in “even  the  most  routine  encounters  with  law  enforcement  officers”; government’s indisputably compelling interest in preventing terrorist attacks could be more narrowly served” …What other list does that sound like… hmmm?

Reminder that there is a New Member Orientation call this Thursday Sept 12th at 8pm ET Dial 319-527-3487.  Call in to learn more about FAC, how to be an effective member, and volunteer opportunities.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


Reminders:

Sat Sep 14- Meet and Greet in Sarasota County from 2-4pm.  Everyone Welcome. RSVP for location and details.

Mon Sep 16- Meet and Greet in Lee County from 6-8pm.  Everyone Welcome. RSVP for location and details.

Thu Sep 26-Meet and Greet in Lakeland (Polk County) – Dinner 5-6pm and Meeting 6-7pm.

Sat Sep 28-Workshop in Apopka from 1-4pm – Come ready to stuff envelopes, make phone calls, plan projects for FAC Team Orlando

Sat Oct 5- Family Support Session in Central Broward County -11:00am-1:00pm -Seating is limited. RSVP early.

For more information about these events, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322.  No children please.


SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK

The Appeal: People On Sex Offender Registry Should Shelter From Dorian in Jail

Barred from other shelters, registrants were left with few options as Hurricane Dorian approached. For some people convicted of sex crimes in Florida, the only shelter open to them during Hurricane Dorian is the county jail. In some counties, people on the registry…

Rep. Sensenbrenner, Champion of Sex Offender Registry, to Retire

Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, one of the most influential members of Congress on criminal justice issues, will not seek re-election next year after four decades on Capitol Hill. In recent years, Sensenbrenner was best known in criminal justice circles…

Nonprofit Contractor’s Home Visits to Verify Sex Offender Addresses Are Valid, 2nd Circuit Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Wednesday that Suffolk County’s decision to contract with a nonprofit to verify the home addresses of registered sex offenders did not violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and…

CA: Man Mistaken As Sex Offender, Beaten to Death

Sep 3, 2019 | 17 Comments

A 63 year old homeless man, Jace Decker, 63, was beaten to death by Matthew Arguello and Ruben Rosales, two men who thought Decker was a registered sex offender. The assault, which took place last month, left Decker in a Coma. He never recovered. The motive for the…

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