Homeless Sex Offenders In Florida Required To Participate in Weekly Check-In

The State appeals court approved a Bay County Sheriff’s Office policy that requires homeless registered sex offenders like John Luther Goodman of the Florida panhandle, to report by 10 .m. each Monday about where, through a detailed log, they expect to spend the next seven nights, a case that may have ramifications beyond the Florida Panhandle, where it originated. Goodman was convicted in 1989 in the sexual assault of a child and challenged the legality of this policy after violating the requirements. With an exception in November 2010, Goodman has generally complied with the twice-yearly requirements of registering his whereabouts, according to court papers. His driver’s license lists him as a transient, with a general delivery address. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal said the check-in policy applies to the homeless individuals within the county.

State law does not specifically authorize the check-in requirements. However, the Florida appeals court found that the statute clearly envisions that sheriff’s offices must establish
protocols by which a transient registered offender presents himself in person and provides
locational information.

The problem with the process law enforcement agencies employ is that they do not pursue the least restrictive means of tracking sex offenders and make registration and check-in difficult to keep up with, causing many who would only be on probation to be thrown back in prison.

However, there are more than a few ways to combat the problem of tracking sex offenders
without requiring check-ins. Law enforcement agencies, with the help of groups advocating for victims’ rights, have started employing electronic monitoring programs to effectively monitor sexual offenders. These Offender monitoring programs come in the form of GPS tethers and GPS ankle bracelets and have proven to be an invaluable asset in the success of sex offender monitoring.

Many of the GPS trackers used for sex offenders are much more advanced than average
trackers, and give officers the ability to monitor an offender from the moment they leave jail,
regardless if they are indoors or outdoors. Pairing a single-piece monitoring device with web-based software, these ankle monitors uses active GPS and assisted GPS technology to track indoors, where GPS alone cannot reach.

Offender location and schedule profiles are available for the officer to view, indicating when
offenders need to be in certain zones (such as at home or work) and which zones offenders
must avoid (such as schools or parks). Officers are alerted when offenders are not where they should be or if they get too close to a forbidden zone.

Most GPS tracking systems operate on a 24/7 basis, sending reports to officers from monitoring centers. They receive reports when the battery dies, when one steps outside of range, or when one tries to tamper with the device. Offenders in this situation would be required to constantly keep the monitors charged. In this case, the homeless would have to charge up the monitor bracelet, either by going to a public location that they will be seen in, or by going to a police substation to charge the monitor up.

One in a situation such as this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville sex crimes defense
to fight the case and ensure one’s rights, defenses, and options are known and
protected. One cannot fight this battle alone. With the help of an experienced attorney, one can be sure that this mistake will be whited out of one’s life and become a thing of the past.

The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for
years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Florida Appeal Court Approves Weekly Check-Ins for Homeless Sex Offenders, FlaglerLive.com

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