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Registerants address county commission after rule changed to allow them

Registered sex offenders had their day to be heard before Brevard County commissioners and explain how an ordinance banning them from certain locations in the county has negatively affected them.

In their statements to commissioners on Tuesday, petitioners pleaded with the commission to reverse an amendment to an ordinance passed in 2020, barring them from entering within 1,000 feet of businesses where children typically congregate.

Their comments included examples of barriers they face because of the county regulation, and the negative impact that is having for their families and other loved ones.

But, after hearing the three speakers, county commissioners took to action to change the rules.

The attendance of the registered sex offenders at Tuesday’s meeting was made possible because commissioners modified a section of the county code in March that prohibited those on the sex offender registry list from entering the Brevard County Government Center in Viera. The regulation, passed in 2006, bars someone on the list from occupying a space within 1,000 feet of a school or a recreation area.

Because the Government Center is near Brevard Public Schools’ district offices and Viera High School, people on the registry had been prohibited from entering the Government Center to attend meetings or conduct business.

Registered offenders, with the Florida Justice Institute acting on their behalf, filed a lawsuit, claiming the 2006 rule violated their freedom of speech rights and hindered them from seeking redress from their government.

That lawsuit continues, despite the changes that commissioners enacted that now allows them to attend County Commission meetings.

The plaintiffs are challenging an amendment they made to the ordinance passed in 2006.

In the fall of 2020, commissioners passed an ordinance that expanded restrictions already in place because of the 2006 rule. It allows business owners to certify their establishments as places where youngsters congregate. This would prohibit registered offenders from entering a 1,000-foot buffer zone around their businesses.  

Their comments included examples of barriers they confront as they go about their lives.

“As an American citizen, I can only hope that more care goes into our lawmaking,” Charles Violi said during public comment. He is on the offender list and is subject to the restrictions passed by the county.

“Do they meet our constitutional requirements, or will they violate a person’s human or civil rights before they are enacted?” he said. “Are we using the correct data to make all these decisions? Are these laws actually producing safety or excessive punishment, as well as wasting police time or our taxpayer dollars, keeping in mind that all lives matter?”

The speakers made a point to explain that they repaid their debt to society for the crimes they committed.

“I am a registered citizen from an offense in Virginia,” Charles Munsey Jr. said during public comment. “I have never had a sexual offense in Florida, yet I am designated as a predator in Florida, not in Virginia.”

“My daughter, the victim, long ago resolved this situation, and we get along fine just now,” Munsey said. “I have been active in community affairs, both here and in Virginia. I was released from probation 11 years early.”

The speakers also explained how the ordinance is negatively affecting their lives.

Vincent Rinaldi wanted to place his house in a trust to plan his estate. He needed to obtain a notary to complete the transaction, but couldn’t obtain one because his bank was located within 1,000 feet of a park, prohibiting him from entering the establishment.

“I cannot conduct normal business that any other citizen of this county is permitted to do,” Rinaldi said. “This is one example of many that I can offer that proves this ordinance hurts and punishes other individuals.”

The speakers also claim the ordinance is having a negative impact on their families.

Rinaldi said he cares for his partner, who is ill, and helping her could place him in custody should he need to take her to the hospital for medical care.

County commissioners, however, took no action to change the restrictions on registered sex offenders. 

“People go in and they serve their time,” Commissioner Rita Pritchett said. “They can come back out and live. There are some things you do you can never gain trust back. I will always err on the side of kids, so if there is ever an opportunity to protect children, I am with Commissioner (John) Tobia and Commissioner (Kristine) Zonka on that.”

Tobia proposed the amendment because he said he wanted to protect children in the community.

“I think children are precious and innocent, and anyone that takes that away is absolutely horrific at the time they take that innocence away,” Tobia said. “Yes, there are people with much more forgiveness than me, but that is something that I don’t have that level of compassion.”

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I really like how “I will err on the side of kids” justifies a total disregard for the Constitution.

So you gain the trust back if you “only” killed someone, but not a sex offense, now that’s evil and unforgivable! Also “I will err on the side of kids”. These same people will in turn charge a “kid” as an adult if they commit certain crimes…….

Ultimately the measure of a regime rests not if it renders justice for the people, but if it renders peace among the people.

This is another example of why registered citizens should be exempt from paying taxes. The government wants to keep banning us from public establishments that our tax dollars pay for, yet we are not allowed to benefit from it?
I should have killed someone or robbed a bank at gunpoint so I could have all of the freedoms I had before I went to prison for csc.

My patience with criminal politicians ended long ago. They are mortal enemies to all free people. They should be treated accordingly.

And personally, if any business “signs up” to get their “1,000-foot buffer zone around their business” then I’d love to see the business … [gone]. They beg for war. There is already a lot of it going on in Amerika and I think that is only going to increase. I think it is funny when people wonder why there is hate, division, and violence in Amerika.

Err on the side of kids would be allowing the ability to reintegrate and make amends for your mistake for the purpose of public safety. Not putting up obstacles for someone to fail. Because by their definition failure means harm to a child and they are happy to put obstacles in the way so you fail?

Until the SCOTUS fixes its error with “frightening and high” recidivism rates, the masses will continue the belief that anyone on the registry is a monster and monsters cannot be human. Thus, making it easier for the masses to trample on constitutional civil rights of your fellow citizens.

SCOTUS slandered us, defamed us by essentially treating the group as irredeemable cretins whose civil rights should not be recognized. Jim Crow laws were once legal too.

The problem is that the states who have conducted recidivism rates do not want to acknowledge the rates are very low and the registry does nothing to change the rates. CA’s own sex offender mgmt board has recorded under 1% recidivism rates, but CA still doesn’t use science in law making. NJ conducted a 20-year study, before and after the implementation of the registry to conclude the registry does nothing.

@Tax

I would like to add a caveat to your well written statement “There is nothing more insulting than for government to call a citizen a threat to the public.”…”without any individual statistical risk based assessment detailing their threat level where it is needed”. You address statistics WRT recidivism, but if you are not assessed as I wrote, you should not be addressed in such a manner as you wrote.

I don’t want to lump PFRs in with those who truly are a threat that don’t need an assessment, e.g., those who are on a armed and dangerous rampage. I know, a thin line, but a thin line worth noting to keep PFRs out of a pool not needed to be in.

Again, well written.

Last edited 1 month ago by TS

Yes, well said.

I find it pretty crazy that we all keep talking about this and discussing it as if everyone doesn’t already know it! We all know the Hit Lists are idiotic. We all know they are counterproductive. We all know they are not for public safety or protecting children. Yet we keep talking about it. I guess it is good to just keep repeating it. We should do that in public all the time, of course.

Before I was arrested, I was a threat to the public. Albeit a minor threat. I certainly was not as much of a threat as a person who robs someone at knife point. Or drives drunk. Or breaks into homes. Etc. Etc. But still, I was a threat.

But today, thanks to over 2 decades of being listed on the Hit Lists, I am magnitudes more of a threat than I ever was. In reality. I am much more dangerous than I ever was or would have been. If the Hit Lists didn’t exist, I can’t imagine I’d be a threat to the public at all. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about what the government says or doesn’t, I’m talking about actual reality. They have made me more dangerous. By a lot.

I can also guarantee that government could not do a “risk assessment” on me and have it mean anything. So they might as skip it. It would just be for theater. They don’t have the first clue about 99.99999% of the people in Amerika. And couldn’t figure it out if they tried. Instead of worrying about people like me they should probably instead focus on doing “risk assessments” of people like the kid who just murdered 10 people in Buffalo. I mean, the Hit Lists are pushing people to act just like that kid. More secretly and toned-down a bit.

But I get it. The Hit Lists will get you elected and keep you in power. Stopping mass shootings isn’t popular or profitable.

I don’t believe that when these county commissioners are elected it gives them the right to make laws according to “who they believe should receive “forgiveness” for their crimes.

Now I have to laugh. Tim with his type of computer Quantum Leap theories and backing it all up with not voting for the Don or others. Even this Ex-post facto issue and even this international travel sounds like everyone is grasping at straws. Sure we all error in many ways, or challenge others in many ways to blame another. Are many Governments using kid enticement as a pawn to gain a positive outcome in some ways coated with a type of sexual flavoring in the mixture than you have a whole mess of disarranged government in these false balance ordeal.

Even kat talks a bit about who do we forgive. We should all forgive others. Saying your sorry doesn’t get to the point in much of this registry ordeal. Trespassing on someone elses threshold is still transgressing do we all look for our own butterdish. Even many of you all talk about porn whether its good or bad to watch. Sure its bad in many ways. Whats your ethical views on it? While ethical views in government have different viewpoints that should be diesqussed to help end much of this registry so all should still press on in one’s goal to end much of this registry.

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