Dear Members and Advocates:
This week FAC and several other advocacy groups have and will be hosting calls with updates on pending lawsuits challenging registration conditions. Last night, the National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws (NARSOL) and the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) held a joint three-hour call to discuss the impact of the recent order out of a District Court in Michigan that set a “do or die” deadline for the Michigan Registry, the Butts County (GA) Halloween sign lawsuit and a forthcoming lawsuit out of New Mexico brought on behalf of out-of-state registrants. This coming Thursday, immediately following our monthly member call, Registrant Travel Action Group (RTAG) will hold a conference call on International Travel and progress made with their legal efforts in Mexico to enable entry for persons required to register.
We previously announced that the March Member call topic would be on storytelling, however the topic HAS CHANGED. This Thursday, March 5th at 8pm ET, the FAC monthly member call topic is LEGAL UPDATES. We will be providing an update on Does v. Swearingen (the “Ex Post Facto Plus” challenge), Does v. Miami-Dade (the residency restriction case which is on appeal in the 11th Circuit), and two “out-of-state” challenges. Our guest speaker will be Attorney Ron Kleiner who will talk about petitioning for removal from the registry, what are the qualifications, what is the process and why it is so difficult.
It is important for all of us to keep up to date and stay informed of the laws and efforts being made to challenge them. The State of Florida will not send you a letter to let you know about a new law and many of us can’t decipher the four pages of rules (plus the Statutes they refer to, which contain additional requirements) that are part of the registration information we sign. With the aggressive Sheriffs in some counties, you can count on them laying in wait to arrest you for violating something you might not even know about so they can make their headlines. Case in point, during a recent “crackdown” in Volusia County, 16 registrants were arrested. Not for new sex crimes (or new crimes at all), but for failing to register vehicles or trailers, putting down the wrong tag number or other petty stuff. Most of them are being held without bond. With all the requirements, it’s very easy to forget to add something or not know you had to in the first place.
Here is what you need to keep in mind: In Florida, registration violations are strict liability, meaning you can get convicted without having any intent to violate the law or even knowing it exists. You must also keep in mind that even a petty violation is a third degree felony carrying a mandatory minimum sentence. Also, if you are arrested for a registration violation, pursuant to F.S. 903.046(2)(m) you will not be given bond until your first appearance, which means you can sit in jail for days (or longer) before you find out if you will even be given bond (and then have to be able to afford it).
Keeping up with the laws and knowing which bills are in the pipeline is one of the best ways to keep yourself compliant and prevent getting caught in a trap. Reading our updates and listening in on our member calls are some of the best ways to accomplish that. Still, we won’t always know everything, which is why we always invite our members to share their experiences through posts on our website. I can’t tell you how many times we read an arrest affidavit and say to ourselves, ‘I only wish this person had read our site because we wrote about this’.
We also say the same thing about the scams that our population continues to be hit with. You might be sick of us sending reminders but we wish we didn’t have to. Reports of people being scammed for thousands of dollars continue to come in each week so we need to keep spreading the word. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a detective from your local sheriff’s office who tells you there’s a warrant for your arrest, that you need to provide DNA or pretty much anything else, know it’s a scam. First; relax – if there’s a warrant for your arrest, nobody is going to call to give you a heads up. Second; play along and calmly collect as much information as you can (phone number they are calling from, name they use, landmarks they tell you to go to, etc.) without giving any additional personal information (they already have it all from the registry). Finally, report it to the actual police. The FDLE and local law enforcement know about the scam but they absolutely refuse to do anything about it, not even the most basic thing they can do (warning the easily identifiable potential victims – everyone on their registry). If you get targeted, it is important that you report it to your local police and insist they file a police report. A crime was committed ([a]ny person who misuses public records information relating to a sexual predator or a sexual offender, as to secure a payment from such a predator or offender…commits a misdemeanor of the first-degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083) so they have to fill out a report. Only after this becomes a problem for them will they do something about it.
We look forward to having you join us on Thursday night for the call on Legal Updates.
Florida Action Committee
SPECIAL MEMBER CALL: The “Storytelling” topic has been rescheduled for next Tuesday March 10 at 8pm ET. Guest Speak is Dr. Caren Neile, professor of Storytelling Studies at FAU. She will discuss the impact of storytelling and how to be effective. Dial 319-527-3487 to join the call.
Dr. Neile will also conduct a 4-hour workshop in Apopka on March 28th and Delray Beach on April 25th. The workshops will prepare those who wish to have their stories videoed and shared in various public platforms. RSVP [email protected] or text name and phone number to 904-452-8322.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
A 69-year-old sex offender found dead Friday at a Daytona motel housing registered sex offenders was identified as Marc W. Pinder and the case is being investigated as a homicide, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. A state probation and parole officer…
March 5, 2020, Registrant Travel Action Group will be hosting a conference call at 9:00PM EST (following the FAC Monthly Member Call) ALL are invited to hear Update to RTAG’s and Matt Ameika’s Mexican law firm efforts to effect the Angel Watch notification system and…
The state of Michigan has more “sex offense” issues to deal with and it’s not because of sex offenders on their registry, it’s because of their own prison guards. In 2009, the state settled a 1996 case, Neal v. Michigan Department of Corrections, in which female…
The Florida Action Committee, along with the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offender Laws (California), Illinois Voices for Reform, Families Advocating Intelligent Registries (Maryland), Women Against the Registry Oklahoma Voices and Pennsylvania Association for…