Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fort Myers to Alert Residents of Sex Offenders

Want to know if a sex offender is moving into the neighborhood, but don't have internet access?

Well, residents in Fort Myers will receive a heads-up phone call when a sex offender or predator moves into their neighborhood. A pre-recorded phone blast is sent out over land lines within a quarter-mile radius. The message informs residents of what's happening and who to call with information.
On the heels of discovering that 90,000 sexual offenders are registered on My Space, their sheriff's office is joining several other Florida law enforcement agencies in expanding that program to include notifications when sex offenders are on the move.

Sgt. Tracy Booth, who oversees the sexual offender program at the sheriff's office, said by law, her agency is required to notify schools, parks and day care facilities when a sexual predator moves. But parents also can check the agency's Web site or sign up for e-mail alerts about where offenders are living.

Claudia Corrigan is vice president of the Fort Lauderdale-based nonprofit A Child Is Missing, which is providing the service to the sheriff's office free of charge. Booth said once her staff verifies the new address of the offender, a call is made to A Child Is Missing, which can put out the information almost immediately. Corrigan said her office's technology allows 1,000 phone calls to be placed in under one minute.

Because her office identifies itself as the law enforcement agency trying to release the message, there is a 98 percent listen rate. The pre-recorded statement will simply tell the listener the name of the offender, offer a description and reveal where he or she is living.

I wonder if in our attempt to keep children free of sex offenders, we have passed laws making it so sex offenders can never have a decent chance at freedom ever again. 20 year registration requirements. Civil committment after criminal incarceration. Restrictions on residency and employment. Forced to live in shanty huts under highway bypasses and then routed from there as well.

Were lepers in the time of Christ treated any better? I really think that legislators have created a permanent class of felons whose crimes were heinous but whose penalties have become discriminatorily oppressive. They need to be challenged to insure that they have not gone too far; have not gone beyond lawfully penal to illegally unconstitutional.

I know how offensive the deeds were which led to incarceration and subsequent supervision. But how repressive have we become in passing restrictions that are themselves uncivil and inhumane? Will there ever be a lawmaker to say maybe we have gone too far and have to retreat? When have you ever known anyone to take laws back?

1 comment:

  1. It is up to the judiciary to reign in the overly zealous grandstanding "vote mongering" legislators. A recent study from Harvard concluded that there is actually very little cyber predator danger (

    In doe vs smith the justices were on the fence about the affirmative action needed to be taken by registered sex offenders for registration after release from prison. It was concluded that since all the offender had to do was return a card in the mail that was not to invasive. Under that premise it so far has been concluded that no matter what was added as a burden to offenders it is constitutional.

    Last July, the same Doe who lost the federal expost facto case finally saw his same case concluded in the Alaska Supreme Court, who found that the registry was in fact an expost facto violation. All offenders prior to the act were immediately removed from the list. (see note dated July 25, 2008) Here is the ruling: