Florida’s Jimmy Ryce Act

By The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A.  Sep. 3, 2013 3:24p

The Jimmy Ryce Act was signed into law in Florida in 1998. Its official title is Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment and Care Act. It was enacted after a nine year-old boy was abducted at gunpoint less than a block from his home after being dropped off by a school bus in Redland, Florida. The boy was raped and murdered by a man who was later convicted of kidnapping, capital sexual battery, and first-degree murder. Under this law, those imprisoned with sex offense convictions are supposed to be reviewed by the prison system, the state's child and family services, and state attorneys to decide what risk the inmate would pose on release. After release, these inmates may be subject to civil legal actions and treatment in a mental health facility.

Recently, due to a newspaper expose by the Sun Sentinel about how the state has failed to keep sexual predators from repeat offenses, state legislators have vowed to make changes to the current laws, such as the Jimmy Ryce Act. According to the investigative report by the newspaper, 594 inmates who were subject to the review per the Jimmy Ryce Act went on to commit a repeat offense, 40 percent within the first year of their release from prison. The newspaper reported that these offenders molested more than 460 children and raped 121 women.

Currently, in Florida only two sex crimes are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. These are child molestation of a minor under the age of 12 which is punished by 25 years in prison and child rape of a minor under 12 which is punished by life in prison. Penalties for other sex crimes depends on the nature of the offense and the defendants previous convictions.

Criminal Defense Firm Serving South Florida

Sex crimes are among the most serious and severely punished of all criminal offenses, especially in cases where minors have been the victims. Anyone accused of any kind of sex crime faces the loss of their social standing, impaired personal relationships, and difficulty finding future employment. Once convicted, they face lengthy prison sentences and the potential of mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

Any criminal charge should be handled by a competent and dedicated criminal defense attorney who has the experience and legal skills needed to enhance your chances of a favorable outcome. The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A. serves the criminally accused throughout south Florida. Mr. Matheny is a former prosecutor with Miami-Dade County who has an insider's perspective on the criminal justice system. He has considerable trial experience, having conducted approximately 50 jury and non-jury trials. Due to his successful legal work, he has been featured in local newspapers and radio shows. To learn more about he and his firm can help you in the face of any criminal charge, contact his firm for a consultation 24 hours a day.

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