Florida Kills Child Rapist and Murderer of Jimmy Ryce

Executed Over 18 Years Later

Juan Carlos Chavez was executed February 12, 2014, by the Florida Department of Corrections. He was convicted in the fall of 1998 for the kidnapping, capital sexual battery and first degree murder of nine year old, Samuel James “Jimmy” Ryce.   In the fall of 1995, Chavez, by his own admission and confession after a 55 hour long interrogation, abducted Jimmy Ryce.  He confessed to raping and murdering the child. He led investigators to where he had hidden the child’s beheaded and dismembered corpse hidden in three plastic containers of concrete.  Chavez confessed three months after the killing when the gun he used was located near the child’s backpack which was near Chavez’s trailer.  The murder of Jimmy Ryce was the basis for the “Jimmy Ryce Act.”

The Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment For Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment And Care Act

 The Jimmy Ryce Act was passed by a unanimous vote in the Florida Legislature in 1998, becoming the law on January 1, 1999.  The law calls for inmates in the state prison system, prior to being released, that have any sex offense history, to be be reviewed and scrutinized for any risk of reoffending.  This review is completed by Corrections, Department of Children and Families (DCF) and prosecutors from the state attorneys office.  Should an inmate be deemed a risk to reoffend sexually, he or she is ordered into a involuntary civil commitment.  These inmates, though considered released after fulfilling their respective criminal sentence, are transported to Arcadia, Florida.  At Arcadia, the former Desoto Correctional Institution houses the involuntarily committed.  Although the facility is a condemned former prison, and the inmate is sent there through the actions of a prosecutor, it has been euphemistically renamed a “treatment center.”  Since the above act only deals  with released state prisoners, this act would not have helped a prosecutor send Chavez, since he was not just released from prison, to “treatment” in what is essentially a renamed prison.

Must Be Determined To Be A Sexually Violent Predator

In addition to having a prior conviction for a violent sexual offense, the inmate must receive this designation by psychologists and psychiatrists, who are paid for by the State of Florida, to determine that the inmate, if not confined in the above-mentioned, secure, “treatment facility”, would be prone to reoffend sexually due to some mental defect or personality disorder.  Eventually a civil trial is held, usually with a prosecutor and a public defender opposing one another, on the issue of whether the involuntarily committed predator has been treated enough for him to be released into society.  The whole process can be summarized as a form of risk management where the inmate who has done 100% of his criminal sentence can be held indefinitely up to the end of his life.  Many times, while negotiating a disposition on a criminal case, if the defendant has a history of sexual convictions and is heading back to prison, even with the new charge being a non-sexual offense, the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the defendant know he faces the good chance of being “Ryced-Out.”  The prosecution won’t fight tooth and nail for the most years on the conviction on the instant offense because they know the defendant is heading to the open-ended indefinite civil commitment (think sentence, maybe life sentence) at the treatment center (think prison), when and if he has completed his criminal sentence.  Again, Chavez had no prior record.  The lawmakers used this horrible case to reinforce the belief that true pedophiles and predators can never be “fixed.”

 If You Or A Family Member Is Facing a Sex Charge in Florida

Contact the Forbess Law Firm for a free consultation. As sex crimes attorneys,we have defended hundreds regarding sexual offenses.  Most of all, we have defended many before they are contacted by law enforcement and subjected to what is called an interview but is actually an interrogation.  Convictions on sex charges in Florida involve a long prison sentence followed by a lifetime of sex offender probation or sexual predator probation.  Protect your constitutional rights.  Contact our firm or any other competent defense firm for a consultation

Additional Sources:
Juan Carlos Chavez executed for Jimmy Ryce’s rape, murder, Local10.com, February 13, 2014.





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