Dear Members and Advocates,
You can’t say the Brevard County Commissioners didn’t see it coming. When they voted on a law to further restrict the exclusion zone for persons forced to register, and then excluded registrants from the public meeting held to discuss that proposal, you couldn’t design a more glaring violation of the First Amendment or Florida’s Governing in the Sunshine Law. But despite being forewarned, they did it anyhow and now it’s coming back to bite them.
Florida Justice Institute filed a complaint on behalf of a few of our brave members who wanted to speak out against that ordinance, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The injunctive relief is to prevent the County Commissioners from barring registrants from exercising their First Amendment right to attend public meetings, and the declaratory relief is to have the laws passed while the First Amendment rights of those impacted were violated, declared void.
Last week, likely realizing they were going to lose the injunction, the Commissioners voted to allow registrants to attend these meetings by adding public meetings to the list of permitted exceptions to the proximity ordinance. Effectively, a win for the registrants, a win for their lawyers and a win for the First Amendment.
Many of you have asked what this means for the lawsuit and the laws that were created while your rights were violated. The lawsuit is continuing. Even though the injunctive portion is no longer needed now that the Commissioners waived the white flag on that issue, the declaratory portion is still alive. The ordinance amendment that our members desperately wanted to speak out against (but could not because they were barred from the meeting under threat of arrest) is still on the books and that battle will continue until the registrants prevail or the Commission votes to repeal that section of the ordinance as well. Also continuing are the damages and attorney’s fees portion of the suit, which unfortunately was forced on Brevard County taxpayers because of the actions of their Commissioners (with the exception of one, Bryan Lober, who resigned this month for unrelated reasons).
You can read the latest filing in the case for more information, but rest assured that the fine lawyers at the Florida Justice Institute are looking out for the plaintiffs, for justice and for the Constitution. Since the litigation is still pending, not much else can be discerned aside from the public record, but FAC is very pleased with the direction of this case and we are confident that the next time Brevard Commissioners seek to pass an ordinance that unjustly impairs the rights of our population, (1) we will be in the room to oppose it, and (2) they will be more likely to listen.
Also, please visit our website for some more positive news in the Ex Post Facto Plus II challenge. For those who have been feeling a bit discouraged lately, there are some positive things happening, so stay involved.
And finally a couple of reminders. Last week we solicited member submissions that we can share with others through our website. If there is anything you would like to share with our membership, be it a success or a struggle, please send your submission to [email protected] and we will post it. Also, please don’t forget that we restarted the meter on our Ex Post Facto Plus sustainer challenge (https://floridaactioncommittee.org/donations/#fundraisinggoals) for 2022 and we definitely need your help in keeping these challenges going. If you can help donate, that’s great. If you can’t donate, that’s totally understandable and fine too, since you can volunteer your time. However you support the cause, with so much happening, what we can’t afford to do is nothing.
The Florida Action Committee
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SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK
The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to challenge the federal SORNA regulations that became effective in January 2022. As a signatory to the MOU, ACSOL has…read more
A convicted sex offender has made a “plausible” claim that providing his email address and other internet identifying information to Connecticut officials violates his free speech rights, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in reinstating his lawsuit against the…read more
Yesterday, an amended complaint was filed in Doe v. Swearingen, the case pending in the Northern District of Florida which (for convenience and not to be confused with Does v. Swearingen in the 11th Circuit) we refer to as Ex Post Facto Plus II. Recently that case…read more
A Roscommon TD will today seek support from the Justice Minister on changes to the current laws, to ensure that sex offenders cannot erase their past offences – either online or by changing their name. The Oireachtas Justice Committee will today debate changes to the…read more
I just want to let you know I read this FAC newsletter today and I thought about how I sent a very pungent and emotional letter to about 10 Congress people in AZ. In it, I also said that I had attached some less emotional and professionally stated oppositions points…read more