Dear Members and Advocates,
This week’s update comes to you a bit late because we were hoping to bring news from the State of Michigan, where a hearing took place yesterday that could impact the lives of 44,000 people on Michigan’s registry. After the hearing, Judge Robert Cleland took the matter under advisement and will issue a written opinion. When that written opinion will come is another unknown that has been hanging over the heads of the tens of thousands of individuals who have been waiting for relief since 2015, when the same Court ruled the current Michigan registry unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court refused to take up the case, effectively ending the road for the present version of the Michigan sex offender registry.
After the State of Michigan refused to take any action in response to the ruling against them, the plaintiff registrants brought them back to court last year, where Judge Cleland gave the State some time to pass new, revised, legislation. Unfortunately, Michigan again did nothing which leads us to where we are now; where we’re waiting for the Judge to issue an order that can potentially give the State even more time to pass legislation to fix their problem (which I think we can all expect won’t happen because no politician wants to touch this issue), or he might issue an order enjoining the State Police from enforcing the unconstitutional registry (which is what we all hope will happen). What we don’t want to happen is you reading the same update next year.
Another item we have been waiting for which we will soon (hopefully) know the outcome of is Ron Book’s DUI arrest, which is currently scheduled for Jury Trial twelve days from now in the Broward County Courthouse. While watching the film Untouchable in anticipation of last week’s community event, I was struck by something that rang eerily prophetic. During the film, someone says of Ron Book, “If his daughter had been shot, we’d have very different gun laws. If his daughter had been hit by a drunk driver, we would have very different drunk driving laws”. The documentary was filmed years before the lobbyist was arrested for DUI, so the irony was almost scary.
Each year, more than 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents. In 17% of automobile child fatalities, a drunk driver was involved. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida has a 26% recidivism rate for DUI and only a small fraction of instances of drunk driving is caught. It will be very interesting to see how Ron Book will fare when it comes to being held accountable for his own actions. Will he get a free pass because of his political donations and connections, or will the Court value public safety, including the safety of our State’s children more? We shall soon see…
The Florida Action Committee
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TONIGHT – Feb 6 at 8pm ET – Monthly Membership Call. Dial 319-527-3487
Wed Feb 12 and Feb 26 – Free Registrant Peer Support group (no therapist) meets in Pinellas Park area at 5:30 pm.
Thu Feb 13 at 8pm ET – New Member Orientation Call. Dial 319-527-3487
Thu Feb 20 – Local Meet-and-Greet in Lakeland (Polk County).
Fri Feb 28- Free therapist-led Family Support session (no registrants) meets at 7pm in Tampa.
Sat Mar 7. Free therapist-led Family Support session (no registrants) meets from 11am-1pm in Central Broward.
Seating is limited for all events. For more information, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322. No children please.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
This year will be focused on helping members to tell their story in various formats including a 30-sec elevator pitch, 3-minute videos, magazine articles, editorials, letters, and even novels. On the Monthly Membership call tonight Feb 6, 2020 at 8pm ET, we will be…
Here’s the conclusion from the Michigan Attorney General: “Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act, taken as a whole, imposes burdens that are so punitive in their effect that they negate the State’s public safety justifications. Accordingly, Amicus Curiae Attorney…
Just goes to show that ANYONE can be a sex offender. Teachers, coaches, clergy and law enforcement officers! What’s confusing is the judge cited his “work as a federal marshal” as a mitigating factor. Shouldn’t the fact that he’s been in a position of authority be an…
Not everyone supports johns registries, and a variety of groups say prostitution and human trafficking are very different crimes and should not be confused. They say prostitution is consensual and voluntary, and human trafficking is not. Most people arrested in…
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Ex Post Facto Plus case, yesterday filed a response to the State’s Motion to Dismiss. You can (and should) read the response here: Does v. Swearingen – Response to Mot to Dismiss 01302020 As usual, Val Jonas and Todd Scher have…