In 2007, New Times broke national news with a story about how a group of sex-offenders was forced to live in tents underneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway because of restrictive laws barring them from living within thousands of feet of schools or playgrounds. Their case became a focal point in efforts to reform the nation’s laws governing sex criminals. After a local outcry, the Tuttle colony was uprooted — but soon rematerialized near Hialeah, once again sparking national debate.
After New Times wrote about the new encampment last August, Miami-Dade County ordered the offenders to leave by last Sunday before extending that deadline to this Thursday because of protests. Now, in response, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Legal Services of Greater Miami, and the Florida Justice Institute filed a joint lawsuit yesterday in an attempt to block the removals, arguing they’re just the latest in the county’s whack-a-mole approach that doesn’t fix the root problem of overly restrictive residency rules.