Dear Members and Advocates,
It has been a disappointing week. Yesterday, Brevard County Commissioners voted in favor (only one Commissioner voted against) of amending their proximity ordinance to include private businesses. From watching the simulcast of the meeting, it appears passing the ordinance was a foregone conclusion, but nonetheless it was disappointing to watch. Our concern is that this might spread to neighboring counties and even states, so we need to do something. At this point, the only avenue might be a lawsuit and we are currently speaking with attorneys and exploring options.
Sincere appreciation to those who wrote letters and showed up to the meeting (registrants were banned from the meeting because it was held at a location within 1000 feet of a school). That said; what we also learned from listening to the Commissioner’s comments is that those who wrote offensive comments and called the Commissioners names did a huge disservice to our cause by pissing them off. We remind everyone to refer to our code of conduct. As much as we need people to react to our calls to action, we don’t need those reactions to harm our efforts or disrespect our population. The amendment was going to pass regardless of what we did so nothing was lost, but it’s certainly some feedback we need to keep in mind for next time.
Another disappointing event that took place last week was that the long awaited decision in Millard v. Rankin came out and it was not good news. Previously the district court found that Colorado’s registry was unconstitutional because the statute inflicted cruel and unusual punishment and violated due process guarantees. Unfortunately the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the district court’s ruling contravened binding Supreme Court (Smith v. Doe again) and Tenth Circuit precedent, and reversed. While Florida is not in the 10th Circuit, the decision harms us nonetheless because it’s persuasive precedent against us.
We await news from the attorneys in that case as to what next steps are. With the circuits split, it might be ripe for the Supreme Court of the United States to take the case, but that might take some time. In the interim, people in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming are stuck with the bad decision.
Another item coming up; the U.S. Department of Justice is asking for public comment on proposed changes to registration requirements under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”). Written and electronic comments must be sent or submitted on or before October 13, 2020. While comments are not due for a while, it’s important that over the next few weeks we digest the 93 page document to identify the proposed changes so that we can formulate an appropriate response. Since this is a nationwide law, we will try to coordinate with other advocacy groups to present the changes and strategy comprehensively and organize a national effort.
The catalyst for this change seems to be the Supreme Court decision in Gundy v United States where the Court had to decide whether the decision as to whether to apply SORNA retroactively was properly delegated to the Attorney General (they ruled it did not violate the non-delegation doctrine). To “fix” that now, the DOJ wants to expressly give the Attorney General the power to interpret and implement SORNA requirements. It also seems that while they had the document open and pen in hand, they decided it’s a good opportunity to add some more changes. Stay tuned for further updates on this one.
Finally, whenever I’m hit in the face with a disappointment I remember a quote from Coach Vince Lombardi, “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” Fellow advocates, as we climb our way to the top of the mountain there will inevitably be setbacks. We just can’t give up. We need to keep climbing.
The Florida Action Committee
Aug 26 Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET. Do you want to be a County Coordinator? For current County Coordinators and members who want to become a County Coordinator for FAC. Dial 605-472-5596 Access 436675#. If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 605-472-5596. You will receive a call-back, enter access code 436675# and be connected to the training meeting. If you are unable to attend and want to be participate in the training, contact [email protected].
Aug 27 Thursday. Polk County members will meet their County Coordinator team at IHOP to discuss local issues and concerns. Leave message at 407-814-4203 to receive details.
Aug 31 – Monday at 7pm ET – Next BREVARD Strategic Planning Meeting. Dial 319-527-3487. Status and discussion of action items needed to correct and educate those Commissioners that passed the amendment this week You do not need to live in Brevard to join this call. If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487 to receive a call-back and be connected to the conference.
Sep 3 Thursday. Monthly Membership call. Topic: Know Your Rights with guest guest attorney Chardo Richardson. Dial 319-527-3487. If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487 to receive a call-back and be connected to the conference.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
Over 200,000 individuals are on sex offender registries for offenses committed when they were children. Registration can be life-long and can be imposed without any inquiry into the child’s individual circumstances or progress in treatment. Some states require…
After our three letters to Brevard County Commissioners and numerous letters from members went ignored, FAC has now written to Florida’s Attorney General requesting she enforce Florida’s Governing in the Sunshine Law against the Commissioners of Brevard County. The…
Wellington, Florida is considering creating a rule that would require vacation rental owners to check to see if potential renters are on the sex offender registry. The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow and will be held by Zoom. The Responsible Party for all Vacation…
After serving their criminal sentence, these men discover their punishment may never be over. Under this legal mechanism, which exists in at least 20 states and the District of Columbia, individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses (or in some…