FL: He Served 18 Months for a Sex Offense. He’s Re-Imprisoned Anyway, Possibly for Life.

Source: flaglerlive.com 9/21/22

Under Florida law, imprisonment does not depend only on proven guilt of a crime. It can also result from the possibility of a future crime. The imprisonment can be up to life. The offender has few avenues of appeal. The case is not even public. The documents on which it is based are sealed from public view.

It is a little known but disquieting side of Florida law, permissible under the so-called Jimmy Ryce Act, which allows the “involuntary civil commitment” of sexually violent and dangerous predators even after they’ve served their sentence. They’re locked up at the Florida Civil Commitment center in Arcadia, a razor-wired, guarded state prison in all but name. It is designed for “the worst of the worst,” in the words of Brian Smith, an assistant public defender.

It almost all happens in secret but for the trial proceedings, which are not even announced. The courtroom is open. Anyone can attend. But neither the case number nor the name of the person on trial is publicly available. No one would know that such a trail is taking place unless there was an explicit inquiry about why the courtroom was reserved for an unidentified trial. The case number at times appears outside the courtroom door, on a list of cases to be heard that day. But even then, the public is barred from accessing the documents.

The person on trial is disappeared in other key ways, too: there is no trace of him or her either in state prison or local jail records, because the person is under the authority of the Department of Children and Families. Even the guards surveilling the defendant in court are DCF’s, not the Sheriff’s Office’s usual court personnel.

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The man needs help, not prison. His life hasn’t turned out well and now he is being used to pad the D.A.’s record. Put him in a hospital and treat him.

This is truly disturbing. Yes, this man has done some disturbing things. Left on his own with no assistance, he may have done more disturbing things. He seems, asked on what I read, to be almost child like, probably as a result of a learning disability, digested by his low IQ.

They are going to keep this man util the day he dies. This is unnecessary, cruel and should be illegal. Perhaps the SCoFL will see that like the SCoVA just did?

At what point do states just become little countries operating independently of the US Constitution? It amounts to unequal treatment under the law. But the bigger problem is regular people willing to give away Constitutional protections provided by law simply because they find a crime to be particularly abhorrent. This is how the Constitution is being dismantled in my opinion. I honestly think the idea of states’ rights is an outdated governmental model. It should be one government for all. Otherwise, there will never be true justice in sentencing across the states. There will just be an endless variety of sentences and rules for the exact same thing. Civil commitment should be a heavily scrutinized process. Like judges, psychiatrists don’t like to admit they are wrong. This opens up a world of opportunity for abuse within this civil scheme.