Friday, November 15, 2013

FL - Florida lawmakers say they will get tougher on sex offenders

Florida lawmakersOriginal Article

This is just more political grandstanding to make themselves look "tough" on crime while actually doing nothing except trampling constitutional rights.


By Derek Gilliam

Florida lawmakers are likely to consider ways to toughen laws against suspected violent sex offenders in the wake of Donald Smith’s arrest in 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction and death.

Convicted of sex crimes, Smith was released from prison less than a month before the arrest in the Perrywinkle case.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford recommended several changes Wednesday when he met with top-level legislators in Jacksonville.

State Senate President Don Gaetz and Speaker of the House Will Weatherford visited the Sheriff’s Office and said both the House and the Senate plan to introduce bills next March to toughen the law.

State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, also spoke about what should be done to close loopholes in current law.

Rutherford said police should be involved during the evaluation process when convicted or suspected sex offenders’ commitment to a mental hospital is possible. He said police reports about the person’s behavior the day of arrest should be used during those evaluations.

He said the charging documents from the State Attorney’s Offices are used, but prosecutors write those documents based on what they think can be proved in a court of law.

Sometimes there are issues inside [the police reports] that never make it into a charging document,” he said. “… If you are only looking at the state attorney’s charging document, you are going to lose a lot of valuable information about this individual’s behavior on the street at the time they are arrested.”

He pointed out that police reports told a much different story from charging documents concerning Smith. A juvenile victim wasn’t allowed to testify by her parents after an attempted abduction by Smith, and he was allowed to plead to a lesser charge.

Rutherford also advocated for changes that would allow police to search homes during address verification of sex offenders; longer sentences for sexual offenses; and vehicle registration, including any vehicle that a sex offender would be able to access.
- If they are not on probation / parole, then you need a warrant to do this!

Currently, when someone is committed following a prison sentence, probation runs while receiving treatment. Rutherford said that shouldn’t be the case.

Bradley said a bill he plans to sponsor will address that issue and others Rutherford advocated at the meeting.

Gibson called it troublesome that sex offenders aren’t treated in prison, and only receive treatment if civilly committed.
- It may be true that they don't get treatment in prison (some do), but saying they don't get treatment unless committed is simply false!  Treatment is usually mandatory once the offender gets out of prison, committed or not.

There’s something wrong, I think, in that scenario,” she said. “When we have them, we should be able to start treatment sooner rather than later.”

Adkins noted that people with mental illness can be civilly committed without being convicted, but then let out of the hospital later. She called it a loophole.

Rutherford agreed and said that’s a reason why he wants police included in the evaluation process of civil commitment.

Show me a bank robber, that’s what bank robbers do. Show me a sexual predator, that’s what they are,” Rutherford said. “I think you can change what people do. I’m not sure you can change who people are.”
- So I guess you are saying that once you are an ignorant or corrupt politician, you will always be an ignorant or corrupt politician?  That is simply not true, and it's not true for what you mentioned above as well.

Weatherford said, “Obviously, there are some loopholes with the law that are allowing people to get out that have problems.” He said lawmakers have an obligation to protect the people, especially children.
- You will NEVER be able to predict who will or won't re-offend, so stop trying!

Gaetz said he has never seen evidence that a “serial, violent sexual predator” has been cured.

I think the sheriff hit it right on the head when he said ‘This is who they are,’ ” Gaetz said.
- Well that is your opinion which we disagree with.


disqus_uoa6Nyfpoq said...

They are politicians! They can pass any law they want and let the courts decide whether it is constitutional or not. If they were concerned about the financial aspects of fighting court battles to uphold the laws they enact, they would have repealed or significantly curtailed sex offender laws years ago. All they have to do is require you to forfeit your 4th Amendment rights (search and seizure) when you register much like you do when released on probation or parole. If you don't agree to forfeit them then it's a registration violation. You might say, that's impossible. They can't do that, but they can. It's no different then requiring one to pay a registration fee. It's a scary scenario, but very possible one...

NJ45143112 said...

Just reading the synopsis above, I find it interesting that they first point out that the registry helps to prevent criminal activity within the family or home...
They then move on to say that there is no evidence that this would deter criminal activity outside the home. Therefore, it would seem they are working on the assumption (supported by evidence) that most sexual offenses against kid's are by somebody they know and not strangers. However, it makes no distinction between those offenders that only viewed images online and those that actually molested kids. The study seems to make the assumption that all offenders are the same...
Problems here arise when they suggest that the registry actually might promote recidivism. Not surprising that they don't mention that elements such as PTSD, stress, depression and a host of other psychological factors resulting from the oppression of idiot legislators may result in a host of negative activities including recidivism. But this is not always the case...
Some people may resort to alcohol or drugs...
Some may take their own life...
Some may...
Just because an offender was given a "sex" label does not mean that they will either commit (or had committed) a sex offense against another. Further, it does not mean that they will be driven to commit a sex offense just because a heartless society wants them to believe they will...
As somebody rightly said "when you label me, you negate me." Negated people have the unique capacity to either grow from the ground up or simply stay underground. If these brain-children we have in government would realize that little fact and stop arresting kid's for being kid's or teens for doing the same thing that teens have been doing for centuries and show just the smallest amount of compassion and empathy for the lives that are destroyed and the people affected by blind legislation, the world might actually be a nice place to live. At present, there isn't much going for it (if you are on the registry, that is...)...
Lot's of thoughts here but not being as clear as I like...
Happy Holidays All!

Loneranger said...

Well the slippery slope that people have been warned against gets a little bit more slick. Once they can do away with the 4th amendment for one group it is for all. Doesn't anyone ever think about stopping these people before anyone has to let the cops in to search their homes at any time day or night for no reason at all. Remember it's not just sex offenders who lose these protections. They are only the open door that has been given to save the children. However if this continues under the appearance it only applies to sex offenders no one will care until it's to late. Lets take a step back in time to a not so long ago when they tried to make public where gun owners live. We can all remember how that was received and then stopped. However this is much more covert as it takes away the 4th amendment protection. point is if they tried to apply the same type of public mapping to gun owners as they did to sex offenders why would they not try to use this on everyone if they could. Welcome to the next step in the new natzi american. I am sure that darn constitution and bill of rights has gotten in the way of so much good the police could do it they just had what they needed. Brings to mind a quote from a Dirty Harry movie. When he said he was all tor up over that criminals rights. Well this is not a movie and it's not just that poor criminals rights anymore. Anyone feel all tor up yet?