Florida Court Finds Sexual Predator Designation Proper Even Though The Offender Did Not Meet Statutory Definition of a Predator

While no criminal charges should be taken lightly, a conviction for a sex crime can result in a lifelong designation as a sexual predator. While there are laws in Florida that require a mandatory sexual offender designation in certain circumstances, the laws also allow for the Florida Parole Commission to impose sexual predator restrictions based on its discretion.

This was demonstrated in a recent case decided by a Florida appellate court, where the court found that sexual predator conditions imposed on a defendant were proper, even though he was not a sexual predator under the statutory guidelines. If you are a resident of St. Petersburg and are currently charged with a sex crime, it is essential to retain the services of a skilled St. Petersburg sex crime defense attorney, to aid you in your fight to retain your liberties and protect your future.

Facts Regarding Defendant’s Sex Crime Charges and Conviction

Reportedly, in 1997 the defendant entered a plea to charges of fondling a minor under the age of sixteen and sexual battery. The stipulated year of his offenses was 1991. The trial court designated the defendant a sexual predator. The designation was subsequently reversed, however, based on the appellate court’s finding that the Florida sexual predator statute applied only to a conviction for sex crimes committed on or after October 1, 1993.

It is alleged the defendant was released onto conditional release in 2010, with supervision ordered to last until 2026. The Florida Commission on Offender review imposed thirty conditions on his release, including the condition that he was not to access the internet until he completed his sex offender treatment program. The defendant signed an agreement agreeing to these conditions but added a note that he was not subject to the conditions because he was not a statutory sexual predator based on the date of his offenses. The defendant violated the terms of his release six times from 2010 through 2015. In 2016 he violated the condition regarding accessing the internet by searching the term “Kowasaski”. His conditional release was subsequently revoked. He challenged the revocation and argued he was subject to conditions for a crime he never committed.

Sexual Predator Designation Under Florida Law

The defendant argued that the state violated his due process by imposing conditions on his release that applied to sexual predators, even though he was not a sexual predator under the terms of the Florida statute defining sexual predators. The court was not persuaded by this argument. The court held that while Florida law imposed a mandatory sexual predator designation for certain offenses committed after October 1, 1993, the designation was not limited to those offenses. Rather, the Florida Parole Commission had discretionary authority under Florida law to impose any special conditions it deems necessary.

The court also declined to adopt the defendant’s reasoning that the condition had no relationship to the crimes he committed. The court noted that while special conditions of probation cannot be so restrictive as to be unrelated to rehabilitation, the same rule did not apply to conditions imposed in a conditional release. Thus, the court denied the defendant’s petition.

Retain an Experienced St. Petersburg Sex Crime Defense Attorney

If you live in St. Petersburg and are currently facing sex crime charges, you should retain an experienced sex crimes defense attorney to assist you in determining what defenses are available to the charges you face. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a St. Petersburg defense attorney with the knowledge and skill needed to help you develop a plan of action that will provide you with a good chance of a successful outcome under the circumstances. Contact our offices at 727-897-5413 or through our online form to schedule a consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Appeals Court of Florida Finds Trial Court Erred in Requiring a Defendant to Register as a Sex Offender and in its Sentencing, December 10, 2018, St. Petersburg Sex Crimes Lawyer Blog