Single, isolated offense (no sex involved, bried inappropriate contact) occured January ’97. Sentenced in April ’98 to 15 years probation, released from supervision after 11 years. Prior to being sentenced, attorney said I did not quality for SO registration and public & community notification requirements, would not have to register, and entered guilty plea based on his advice. State waited until after 30 day appeal period passed, then told me I was designated as an RSO, had to have my photograph taken for RSO website and prospectively register as an SO, and the public and community notifications started. Attorney later admitted that he misrepresented me in court, and that I would have to register for an additional 25 years once I was released from supervison…so 11 years of probation + an additional 25 years, even though he told my wife and me prior to sentencing that I didn’t qualify for SO registration at all. There was no such thing as SO probation at the time I was sentenced. Additionally, under statutes in ’98, 25 year registration AFTER being released from supervision…not lifetime as it is now. Initially, after being sentenced, never had to report to Sheriff’s office, and an officer came by maybe once per year to verify address. Then state started adding more and more restrictions, probation kept trying to apply them to me, attorney kept going to court, restrictions kept getting thrown out by circuit judge on ex post facto grounds.
THEN ALONG CAME SORNA…and all its Nazi, Colonial-era measures and restrictions were retroactively applied.
Was automatically assigned Tier II based on conviction alone…no hearing…no due process…no equal protection…after several years of not having a Tier level at all or having to report to the Sheriff’s office. All the restrictions kicked in. Was told I had to start reporting once every 6 months to Sheriff’s office in person or face arrest and prison. Cops started coming by once every 3 months even though they’re only required to come by only once per year. (Ironically, registered sexual predators have to report in once every 3 months, so it’s as if they are, in effect, treating me like an RSP except, in the reverse, they are coming to me instead of me going to them). And, even though have not been on probation since January 2009, the cops act just like probation officers when they come by every quarter, with their line of questioning, etc. And Florida has continued to add more and more restrictions retroactively and has been labeled as one of the harshest states in the union for RSO’s. I know I am not alone but to even begin to describe the harassment my family and I have been continuously subjected to, not even so much by the general public but mainly by cops, is a horror story and nightmare in and of itself! They sometimes come in groups after midnight, always without a search warrant, repeatedly ringing our doorbell and banging on the door, waking up my family from sleep, yelling and demanding us to open the door. They often come after dark, 3 – 6 squad cars at a time, with their all their lights on, making a spectacle in front of our neighbors, shining their ultra bright led lights in my face, practically blinding me. Sometimes they will stand out by the street and yell across the yard to me so all the neighbors can hear: “WE’RE HERE TO DO A SEX OFFENDER CHECK!” “YOU’RE A REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER AND WE’RE HERE TO VERIFY THAT YOU STILL LIVE AT THIS ADDRESS!” And they will keep repeating it over and over, screaming it across the yard for all of our neighbors to hear. They constantly threaten to arrest me if I do not answer their questions when they come by or show them my ID. They have threatened to shoot our dog without justification. They will drive by and turn their sirens and/or lights on just as they’re passing my home then turn them off right after they pass…they do this all the time. I’ve seen them throwing trash in our yard, and I’ve caught them parked in my driveway at 1am or 2am in the morning after my dog would alert us, then they will take off real fast when I step outside to see what the dog is barking at. They leave these large, bright yellow placards hanging on our fence, front door or garage door with big, bold black letters “SEX OFFENDER UNIT”, with a note demanding that I call them if I wasn’t home when they came by, and any visitors to our home can see those signs. They’ve even taped those yellow signs on our fence facing the street so that passing cars and neighbors can see them. They have followed my family and me around, stalking us at the county fair, at the park, in a restaurant, at public events, etc. My son has been jogging with his friends and they will stop him, asking him for ID, and make comments in front of his friends about his dad being an RSO. Or, if he gets stopped for a basis traffic intraction, they will surround him with 4 – 5 sqaud cars and make a poing of referring to him as “the son of that sex offender”. The list of harassment goes on and on…years of this hell on earth! The very public servants that are supposed to be examples of “lawfully abiding” are the very ones violating the spirit of the law by harassing and stalking my family and me. They are extremely aggressive with me, always trying to cause a provocation, seemingly as if trying to come up with an excuse to shoot me..I’m not even joking!
How can SORNA or the myriad of new state statutes NOT be punishment and ex post facto violations? It truly is as if probation never ended…just changed hands from probation office to sheriff’s office, is all. If you fail to adhere to the constant, new and increasing retroactve restrictions, then you are faced with arrest and imprisonment, thus increasing the penalities from the original sentence. This is insanity!