Dear Members and Advocates,
Last week two FBI agents were shot while attempting to serve a warrant on a CP suspect in South Florida. The shooting was a tragedy on so many levels. First, it’s a tragic loss to the family of the two agents who were killed and to the law enforcement community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who knew and worked with them. Second, it’s a tragedy for our cause. Whenever a high profile calamity is linked to a person with a history of a sexual offense, it taints our entire movement because everyone with the label gets associated with the perpetrator. It’s reminiscent of the Cherish Periwinkle abduction/murder. In an instant we all become “that guy”.
We don’t know what actually happened or what was in the mind of the shooter. He couldn’t have anticipated that he would be served with a warrant at 6AM, so he certainly wasn’t lying in wait to ambush the officers with gunfire. More likely, he could have been suddenly woken to the sound of people breaking in his door and started shooting. Or maybe the shock of the situation drove him to do something desperate in the heat of the moment? More information will likely come out in the coming days and we might learn more, but what we already know is what we have come to anticipate whenever an extremely rare tragedy occurs involving someone associated with a sex offense… things get worse.
In an effort to pacify an angry public who want swift action, lawmakers and law enforcers generally go the easy route and dump on the segment of our population that’s already reviled. Even if the shooter was not on the sex offender registry (which he wasn’t), and no registrant in the community has ever shot a law enforcement officer (if they had they wouldn’t be in the community), somehow the perception will be that those on the registry, in addition to sexual deviants, are also violent domestic terrorists. And fueling that belief and the further villainization of those on the registry is the media, who wants to capitalize on the low hanging fruit. The cover story of this past Sunday’s Miami Herald was “Monster Next Door: Law officers struggle to curb dark underworld of child porn.” Unfortunately, the “monster” archetype now includes shooter among the behaviors.
We don’t want to set aside concern for the safety of law enforcement. Their work, in general, is extremely dangerous and nobody should be killed doing their job. We just hope that the event does not spur a series of knee-jerk-reaction legislation or policy changes. If law enforcement is encouraged to proceed under the presumption that a registrant is “armed and dangerous”, how will it impact routine address verifications? Will 2nd Amendment rights be stripped from those on the registry who have adjudication withheld? Will the law enforcement community hold us accountable for the act of one person and take their anger out on all of us? Now more than ever, we need to stay united and push back against the inevitable backlash that is about to come our way. Our Media Committee is busy pushing back and might call upon our membership to help post comments to these “monster” stories.
In other news – good news; the ‘Ex Post Facto Plus’ challenge lives on in the form of a new action that was filed this past week. For a longer explanation of why a new action was required, please refer here, here or here. The case was filed in the Northern District of Florida (where the Plaintiff lives) and was assigned to Judge Hinkle (who presided over the successful Internet Identifier Challenge) and assigned case number 4:21-cv-00085. There has been a lot of debate in our forum whether this new case is intended to only benefit one person and the answer is unequivocally no. This case, as with the first, is challenging the constitutionality of the statute facially and as applied. We will continue to provide updates as they come during this extremely busy time (we’ll save the legislative update for next week… that’ll be a doozy).
Florida Action Committee
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Two County Coordinator Training programs begin next month. Sign up for a class to receive your training package. Class A meets by phone on Sundays or Class B meets by phone on Wednesdays. Looking for members who want to be part of the Membership team for their local area. It requires 2-4 hours/week, self-motivation and a one-year commitment. No limit, you can have multiple coordinators in one County if you have a friend or family member that wants to help. We will provide the training, support, and materials that you need to succeed. If interested, contact membership at 833-273-7325 Option 1 or email [email protected] for more information.
Thursday Feb 11 – 8pm ET. Call 319-527-3487. New Member Orientation call. Learn more about the organization, available resources, and volunteer opportunities. If you have any trouble connecting to the call, text “CALL ME” to 319-527-3487 from your mobile phone. FreeConferenceCall.com will call you back and connect you to the conference.
Saturday Feb 13 – 11:00am-1:00pm ET. Therapist-led Family Support Session via Zoom. Limited participation. Email [email protected] or leave message at 833-273-7325 Option 1 for access to the Monthly group session.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
I’m posting early in the morning because this one kept me awake for most of the night. Senate Bill 932 sponsored by Senator Wright and it’s companion bill House Bill 141 sponsored by Representative Leek, are making their way through the Florida legislature, The Bills…
The Dobbs Wire: Minnesota! Great news out of Moose Lake, one of two spots where the scandalous Minnesota Sex Offense Program (MSOP) hums along and death is the easiest exit. Hundreds of individuals who already paid the price (a prison sentence) for a sexual offense…
The City of West Covina, California’s city council decided to repeal its Sex Offender Residency Restriction (SORR) rather than defend a losing lawsuit. The suit, brought last year by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) challenged the law as…
We’ve gotten reports from individuals that US Marshals (not just local police, but a federal law enforcement officer) has come by people’s homes to perform the address verification. The latest report has come to us from Brevard County. Have any of you experienced..