Lindsey & Ferry, P.A.
Florida reviewing its violent sex crimes program in wake of case
Many states have struggled to find an appropriate solution to deal with persons who have been convicted of violent sexual crimes. On the one hand, the states want to ensure that the penalties connected with such crimes are sufficient to deter others from committing the same crime. On the other hand, the states also have an interest in attempting to rehabilitate sex offenders through counseling and other treatment to reduce the likelihood that the offender would repeat his or her crimes.
In Florida, before they may be released into the public, offenders who have been convicted of certain violent sex crimes have to be examined to determine the probability that he or she will commit other such sex crimes in the future. If it is determined that further treatment is warranted, the state may request a civil commitment of the offender. Under Florida law, a civil commitment can last indefinitely until it is determined that the offender no longer poses a threat to society.
Upon release from civil commitment, the person must register as a sex offender. This means that his or her name is included on a list of sex offenders and he or she must regularly stay in contact with law enforcement for tracking purposes.
A recent case in Florida has caused state officials to review the existing criteria for civil commitment of sex offenders. The sex offender that was the subject of the case had been convicted of other violent crimes such as homicide. After the sex offender was released from civil commitment, he committed other crimes that were not sexually related, such as dealing in stolen property.
The case raised questions of the effectiveness of the psychological evaluation tool that is used to determine whether sex offenders require civil commitment before they are released from prison. Although the sex offender’s crimes after he was released from civil commitment were not sexually related, the state decided to review the procedures, since he was evaluated using the evaluation tool (and committed another crime nevertheless).
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When the state has completed its evaluation, it may result in changes to procedures that will affect the likelihood that sex offenders will face civil commitment when they have completed their prison sentences.
If you have been accused of a sex crime, you face a significant loss of freedoms for the rest of your life. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.