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Florida may see increased penalties for sex crimes

There are serious consequences for people who are accused of crimes involving sex in Florida. Under the Jimmy Ryce Act, offenders are seriously punished. The law was meant as a deterrent and was passed following the kidnapping, rape and murder of a child in Miami-Dade County more than 15 years ago.

These penalties can be life altering for those accused of sex crimes. Even accusations can have a negative effect on a person's reputation in the community. A guilty verdict can lead to long prison sentences and being required to register on the sex offender registry.

Now, some Florida legislators are proposing changes to these punishments. Legislators are claiming that there are too many loopholes in the current law. They say that too many people are still getting hurt as a result of convicted sex offenders committing new crimes after their release from prison. These legislators want it to be easier for convicted sex offenders to be civilly committed following their release from prison to prevent them from re-offending. These same legislators are also calling for longer prison sentences and increased monitoring after offenders are released from prison.

At this time, no specific bills have been introduced, but legislators are working on proposals. These laws could seriously impact how people are treated when they are arrested on sex crime charges. Despite their desire to protect Floridians, these legislators must also be careful not to violate anyone's constitutional rights.

No matter the type of crime that people have been accused of committing, they have constitutional rights that cannot be violated. Lawmakers must ensure that they do not violate rights when crafting these new laws. Furthermore, police must be conscious of how they implement the laws so that they also do not violate anyone's rights.

Source: Miami Herald, "Lawmakers to revisit sex offender laws," Brendan Farrington, Sep. 24, 2013

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