Dear Members and Advocates,

Last week our registered community received some good news. A Tennessee District Court found their State’s registry to be punishment and violative of the constitutional prohibition on Ex Post Laws. While relying on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal’s Does v. Snyder as precedent, Judge Aleta Trauger of Tennessee’s Middle District held that, “Smith v. Doe is not a license to heap an endless parade of new and severe punishments on individuals whose long-ago offenses carried no such consequences when committed.” Essentially a rephrasing of Snyder’s, “[n]or should Smith be understood as writing a blank check to states to do whatever they please in this arena.”

Whenever we announce a decision from another jurisdiction, we invariably receive a flood of comments, phone calls and questions asking, “does this affect us?”. The answer to that question is “in the big picture, yes” but “directly, no”. To address the question more specifically, no part of Florida is in the Middle District of Tennessee and Florida is not one of the four states in the 6th Circuit. Therefore, neither this decision nor Snyder are binding on the Court for a case brought in a federal district court in Florida.

While it is certainly a great decision for those living within the same jurisdiction as these cases (I imagine there will be plenty of people in Middle Tennessee heading to Court very soon), it’s still good for registrants in any state, because these wins can be used as persuasive precedent. In fact, if you read through the pleadings in our own Ex Post Facto cases, you will find Snyder and many other cases from other jurisdictions argued. When a new case comes out, it’s generally filed as a supplemental authority. Through the use of persuasive precedent, we are telling the Court, ‘hey Judge, this is how this issue was decided in other jurisdictions and the facts are similar here.’ The more of these we have, the more persuasive it becomes. When we pile more winning cases to our side of the scale, it’s more likely to tip in our favor.

Most circuits, including the 11th Circuit – where Florida happens to be, still rely on the Smith v. Doe “blank check” argument, but as Professor Wayne Logan pointed out in his book on “New Generation” sex offender laws, lately courts have cast a more critical eye, invalidating new generation registration laws. That’s happening in a number of other states and we are hopeful it will happen in Florida as well.

Here’s why…  Think back a few months ago when we had a monthly member call discussing the evolution of Florida’s registry. We went year by year and spoke about all the new requirements and restrictions that got piled on over the years. If we only consider those changes since 2003 (the year that Smith v. Doe was decided) there are more than two dozen! It’s true… check out the legislative history: s. 2, ch. 2004-371; s. 9, ch. 2005-28; s. 3, ch. 2006-200; s. 4, ch. 2006-299; s. 159, ch. 2007-5; s. 10, ch. 2007-143; s. 4, ch. 2007-207; s. 2, ch. 2007-209; s. 3, ch. 2009-194; s. 4, ch. 2010-92; s. 4, ch. 2012-19; s. 11, ch. 2012-97; s. 11, ch. 2013-116; s. 10, ch. 2014-4; s. 5, ch. 2014-5; s. 26, ch. 2014-160; s. 99, ch. 2015-2; ss. 10, 51, ch. 2016-24; s. 3, ch. 2016-104; s. 2, ch. 2017-170; s. 2, ch. 2018-105; s. 2, ch. 2021-156; s. 8, ch. 2021-189.

There is no way that Smith v. Doe could have considered these two dozen “non punitive” requirements because they didn’t exist in 2003. If the supreme court ruled the registry was non punitive in it’s 2003 form, we’re clearly not talking about the same animal in its 2021 form. Not even close!

This win in Tennessee is also good for registrants in every state simply because it’s a win. I’m always confused when I read negative comments on our forum to the effect of, ‘if this doesn’t apply to us, I don’t care’. We should absolutely care. Be supportive and encouraging of others, so they will be supportive and encouraging of us. Don’t forget we have our own similar cases pending in the Northern District of Florida and the 11th Circuit. Let’s get as much prayers, karma and support as we can. (On that note, please don’t forget to support our Ex Post Facto challenge.)

Think of it this way… we might not have been the ones to score this goal, but at least we are on the same team as the one who did and the more goals our team scores, the more likely we all are to win the game.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee

Announcements

40-Day DOUBLE Donation Challenge – Donations made to the ExPost Facto lawsuit cases between Dec 10-19 will be DOUBLED up to $6,000, including tax deductible donations sent to Justice Transitions, Inc.  For more information see post below or email [email protected] or call 407-814-4203.

December 9 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – phone 319-527-3487.  The New Member Orientation Call is open to all members to ask questions about the organization, share resources, discuss local issues and learn about volunteer opportunities. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to 319-527-3487 to receive connection call.

December 10 Friday – Brevard Re-Entry Task Force Meeting. 3:00 pm. Seeking Non-registered Volunteers to serve on the Sub-Committee for Registered Citizens. Contact [email protected] or call 407-814-4203 by December 9th.

December 11 Saturday Family Support sessions – 11:00am-1:00pm. Therapist-led group session via Zoom, for family member or loved ones of registered citizens only.  Must be FAC member to participate.  Contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.

December 11 Saturday Hillsborough Breakfast Action Club- 9:00am.  For location, contact  [email protected] or call 321-754-0446.

December 13  Monday at 7:00pm ET – Fearless Group  Peer-led Support group – You are Not Alone. Dial (727) 731-2927 to join the Fearless Group and the peer leaders Daphne and Don.  For more information about the support group, contact [email protected] or call 321-754-0446, or see Fearless Group Post

December 18 Saturday Hillsborough Holiday Party from 1:00-4:00pm.  For location, contact  [email protected] or call 321-754-0446.

December 24 Friday (4:00pm-10:00 pm) and December 25 (4:00pm – 8:00pm) -Virtual Holiday Party.  Wanted DJs, Game Hosts, Musicians, Singers, Comedians, and other talents to fill ten hours of entertainment.  Have your moment in the spotlight and take the stage.  If you want to host a segment of the party, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.

Need to Talk? FAC has peer volunteers that are here to talk one-on-one, call 904-452-8322.  Volunteers are not available 24/7 but you will receive a call as soon as possible.  If you have an emergency, call 911, or helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or a crisis center (Listing of Crisis Centers and Hotlines)


SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

The Dobbs Wire: New SORNA regulations issued – effective Jan. 7, 2022

Headsup!  New SORNA regulations were issued today – take effect Jan. 7, 2022.  They will impact everybody on a sex offense registry. In the last months of the Trump administration the Department of Justice (DOJ) suddenly issued draft regulations under the federal Sex…

Member Submission: Address Verification in Tallahassee

Hello. Just to let fellow people required to register know: my local city police showed up for my verification. I am no longer on Probation. I register through my county sheriff not the city. They asked me questions not asked during the regular registration (

Florida Supreme Court makes it risky for a defendant to tell a judge ‘I’m innocent’

The Florida Supreme Court is sending this message to criminal defendants: If you think you were wrongly convicted, keep it to yourself. Ignoring long-standing law, the justices decided that when defendants dare to dispute their guilt instead of owning the crime, state…

NC: Phone scam targeting persons required to register as sex offenders

[FAC NOTE: We will keep sharing these as a reminder]   A phone scam in Orange County has been targeting registered sex offenders, prompting the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to warn the community about the risks of these calls. On Nov. 17, the sheriff’s office..

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Let's Spread Truth

Share this post!