Dear Members and Advocates,

For those who have not been following our site, we have a crisis going on in Brevard County. Brevard, like most counties in Florida, has a residency restriction for persons required to register as sex offenders (SORR). Not only does Brevard have a SORR, they have a proximity ordinance. This means that not only can someone on the registry not LIVE within 1000 feet of a school, park, playground, daycare, etc. but they literally cannot GO anyplace within the exclusion zone, at any time.

There are literally 1000 foot radius invisible circles around these places where registrants are excluded from being present, and no map or line in the road telling them where these exclusion zones begin or end. The result has been that more than a dozen registrants in Brevard were living at a campsite in the woods because that was one of the only places they could be. Many of them were on probation and GPS monitoring and their boxes were literally geofenced to that area.

As horrible as all this was, it got a lot worse last week, when they were evicted. Brevard County told the homeless registrants that they could not stay at their previously approved campsite and would arrest them for trespassing if they did. Probation told them that if they were not where they were supposed to be (at the campsite), they would be arrested. Finding another place to camp out was not an option because it’s practically impossible to find housing under these conditions.

It was a horribly cruel catch 22, where these guys were just trying to comply with the law and it was impossible to do so.  As anyone could predict, Police arrested them Friday afternoon for not having another place to go. They remain in Jail. Attorney Jessica Travis was there for the initial court appearances and is assisting the Public Defender’s office in representing these individuals. FAC volunteers have been scrambling to find somewhere to place these people (and others whose arrests will be inevitable if a solution isn’t found), but the SORR and Proximity Ordinance leaves nowhere for them to go. Florida Today gave the story some press coverage, but no other media outlet seemed to care, which is indicative of the dehumanization of our population.

PLEASE, help spread the word that this is going on. PLEASE contact the press, global human rights organizations, Brevard County commissioners and any friend or contact you have that might care and ask them to do the same. Last year, when Brevard County passed an ordinance allowing businesses to declare themselves the center of an exclusion zone, and when the Commission excluded the very people who would be subject to this banishment from attending the Commission meeting where it was discussed, we thought they crossed the line. Now they’ve blown through it!

Especially with the holidays coming up, please keep your thoughts, prayers and support coming for those who are homeless because of the registry. Especially those in Brevard who are currently sitting in jail because they were legislated into homelessness. This is not how this world should be. To remind those who feel they have no support or loved ones thinking of them during the holidays, you do. FAC will be hosting our annual virtual holiday party, which we hope will be a place where you can call-in and be connected to FAC friends during the holiday (details follow). You are not alone! You are not forgotten.

Sincerely,

Florida Action Committee.

Announcements

UPDATE: DOUBLE Donation Challenge –  The goal to match $6,000 in donations for the ExPost Facto cases has been met, but Donors say KEEP GOING!  Matching funds have been increased and the Double Donation ending date has been extended.  Donations to the ExPost Facto lawsuit cases received (or postmarked) by December 31, 2021, will be matched up to $10,000, including tax deductible donations sent to Justice Transitions, Inc.  For more information see post on the website or email [email protected] or call 407-814-4203.

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

Virtual Holiday Party – December 24 Friday (4:00pm-10:00 pm) and December 25 (4:00pm – 8:00pm) -Virtual Holiday Party.  Call-in at 319-527-3487.  If you have any trouble connecting, text “CALL ME” to 319-527-3487 to receive a call-back and be connect to the party.  There is still time to sigh up to be a DJ, Game Host, Musician, Singer, Comedian, and other talents.  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.

Virtual Christmas Service – December 25 Saturday (Noon-2:00pm) Join us for the reading of the Christmas Story, prayer and reflection for those who wish to participate in a solemn discussion of gratitude, hope and encouragement.  All denominations are welcome, believers and non-believers alike, we are there to listen and support each other with no judgement.  Call-in at 319-527-3487.  If you have any trouble connecting, text “CALL ME” to 319-527-3487 to receive a call-back and be connect to the service.

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 THE WEEK

Ocala man torches neighbor’s home because of rumor victim was a pedophile, police say

Ocala police arrested a man Monday who they believe started a fire that damaged a mobile home in early December. Kenneth Bryant, 42, was arrested at Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park. According to the arrest report, Bryant told police he couldn’t remember the incident…

Recent out of state challenge filed in Northern District of Florida

Attorney Ann Fitz has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who remains on the Florida sex offender registry, despite moving back to Oklahoma, the state where his underlying offense occurred and a state from which his registration obligation was removed. The case also…

A shallow dive into new Justice Department’s Rules on SORNA

Yesterday, the US Department of Justice issued its Ruling on the registration requirements under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) that will become effective on January 7, 2022. I will refer to this summary as a “shallow dive” because the…

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