FL: Pennsylvania tourist to stay on Florida’s sex-offense registry

Source: orlandosentinel.com 4/4/22

TALLAHASSEE — A Leon circuit judge has dismissed a Pennsylvania man’s challenge to a Florida law that kept him on a sexual-offense registry after a 10-day family vacation to Disney World in 2015.

Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey dismissed the case last week, in part finding that a statute of limitations had expired. The man, identified in court documents as John Doe, reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office when he came to Florida because he was on a Pennsylvania registry at the time as a result of a child-pornography conviction in 2002.

Doe was removed from the Pennsylvania registry in 2016 but remained registered as a “sex offender” in Florida, according to a lawsuit filed in 2020.

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That’s psycho! So, the guy visited Florida years ago as a registrant, registered and then was removed from the registry from his home state! Yet, Florida kept him on the registry? That’s just flat out absurd and mean!

The article is behind a paywall. As I cannot post entire content here, I will summarize the article as follows, and my commentary will follow:


1. The man, identified as John Doe, was on the Pennsylvania SO registry for a 2002 crime, when he visited Florida with his family for a 10-day vacation in 2015.

2. He had to register in Florida because he exceeded the time allowed for a registrant to be in state without registering.

3. He was taken off the Pennsylvania registry in 2016.

4. He remains on the Florida registry, and was still on the registry (which is lifetime in Florida) in 2020.

5. John Doe filed suit to be taken off the Florida registry, citing that since he was not resident of Florida, and he was in fact not a registrant of any state, that Florida violated his constitutional privacy and due-process rights for keeping his name on the registry. His continued presence on the Florida registry hinders many of his actions in Pennsylvania, even though he is free and clear of both the court system and the registry there.

5. The court ruled AGAINST his removal, and gave only ONE REASON: that since he was registered in Florida in 2015, and the four-year statute of limitations ran out by the time he filed suit in 2020.

NOW for my commentary: This is a massive tell that the state can NOT argue about the “safety” aspect of the registry, but is now solidly punitive, clearly against the 2003 decision’s intent. Since “statute of limitations” applies ONLY to criminal cases (and certain civil cases attached to criminal cases), there IS no statute of limitations argument that can be readily put forth. I’m willing to bet that the attorneys for Doe did not expect such a ruling to even be CONSIDERED, and they were ill-prepared for the State to introduce this concept in a manner suggestive of the inclusion on the “regulatory” sex offender registry

Finally, anything “punitive” such as the subject of a “statute of limitations” which applies to the inclusion on a registry should be another reason to highlight the registry as purely punitive at this point. Nothing else can suffice.

I fail to see what purpose keeping him on the Florida registry achieves. He is off in the state he was convicted so they no longer feel he is the same type of person who committed the crime and reformed. However, Florida still feels like he is a danger, or was it never about protecting children and only protecting its businesses model. Guess Florida needs every cent it can get its hands on in the form of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.
Federal Requirements for State and Military Registered Sex Offender Management

Critics say the state’s policy of keeping non-residents registered bloats the list—and harms public safety

Statute of limitation on tryin to get off a lifetime registry? Yeah I cal BS. Why do they even wanna keep him on??? What is the purpose?

So, it sounds like he could have been successful if he filed the suit within the 4 years.

Wonder is an appeal should be in order. Florida seemed to argue that accrual was in 2015. However, he was removed in PA in 2016. I would say accrual was in 2016, not 2015 because he was still required to register in 2015.

The state of Florida sure likes to keep their Registry bloated even with names of people no longer living there or long passed away – just to keep the fear up so the state can pass more laws and drum up more business for prosecutors, politicians and law enforcement.

Florida may well be a fine state filled with great people – but you’ll never hear it from here or in any other media that talks about this part of America. I always seem to get the impression that Florida is an angry place full of toxic alpha male bitterness.

Florida has over 70,000 registrants, of which over 40,000 are either dead, incarcerated, or have left the state. Yet all of them are “substantially compliant” with Florida’s registry scheme for SORNA purposes.

SORNA grants are given out on a per-registrant basis. Is it really that big a mystery why they keep their registry so inflated?

As Derek so brilliantly already showed us, the reason to keep this man, as well as MANY others, on the Florida registry is – CHA-CHING!

Maybe Florida should put drunk drivers on a lifetime registry. Ooops, I’m sorry, I meant drunk drivers who get to plea down to “reckless driving” because they are special.

I’m sorry,if was me and I went to Florida for just 10 days, I wouldn’t even bother reporting to anyone. The heck with that crap. My sister has a vacation home down there, and my nephew lives down there as well, I’ve never been to Florida, but if I ever did go the last thing I would do is report to another state of I was only going to be there for a handful of days. Just wouldn’t and won’t do it.

The statute of limitations in cases like this is usually overridden when the Plaintiff can show the harm is ongoing, i.e. the clock is constantly being reset to zero. It’s only when the event that occurred has ceased to recur that the Statute of Limitations typically kicks in. That works in Federal Court, at least; I fail to see why it wouldn’t work in State Court other than, oh yeah, Floriduh. I’m sure it will be appealed and the ongoing harm will be clearly stated.

And four years from 2016 is 2020 when suit was filed, unless they went to the specific calendar month and day which they could be beyond. However, that is for the PA discharge from the registry, not FLA where he is still on it because of his one time lifetime registration in 2015 which was legit in 2016 as well to run concurrent with PA. Therefore, IMO, he was (and is) still being harmed because FLA kept him on due to their own law despite him not being a resident and being discharged from the registry elsewhere. Hopefully he appeals this to the 2nd Circuit there in Tally for them to reconsider their math and system.

Of course, if the entire state legal recourse fails including FLASC, I hope he hits up the Fed circuit because that will certainly draw some attention, IMO.

Wow! This is sick! The guy was trying to do the right thing! Let me get this straight? He was simply visiting, registered because it was 10 days/left and they kept him on the registry? Aren’t you supposed to be removed if you move? Furthermore, if he is now living out of state, how could he still be on? None of this makes sense? Wouldn’t he only be on if he registered annually?

Florida keeping registrants who no longer live in the state, whether by moving away or dead, should be used as evidence that the registry is punitive and being used as a money making machine.

I hope ACSOL uses Florida’s use, or rather abuse, of the registry does not help the locale since those persons no longer reside there. This goes beyond 2003 Smith v Doe.

There is an old common saying and I’m sure many know it or I’m sure you can look it up on the database. Its called “open mouth, insert foot”. Getting to the heart of thsi registry it is no more than a punishment or is the registry common law crucifixion. Their was a comic funny I found several years ago and the sketch was “If you float , it means you are a threat to the public. If you sink you aren’t.

Who has wisdom to understand that today?. So are sex offenders so to speak dead in the water. Oh and its all about money. Not necessarily, but it is about justice. Isn’t that why we are all going to DC. Sure I can see many on here dishing out their 2 cents or who’s the leaper today in this cesspool of registry. Oh the guy in the story that went to the “panhandle state” well if Florida is panhandling this registry and many states are too too big for their breeches.

I do hope that a plaintiff whose claim hasn’t expired starts another lawsuit. I’m sure there must be thousands of them.

There are several states that will never remove you from the registry. New York is also very possessive of their list. They also kept extending the time required to register just as people started coming off, and placed them back on. Ironically, the AG who supported most of NY’s laws is now a disgraced accused sexual predator himself.