In 1997 I was living in Fort Lauderdale when I was arrested for downloading 28 CP pictures. For the record I knew what I was doing and admit to what I did. I won’t go into detail about the hell I experienced through jail, courts, losing my job, etc. After serving 53 days in jail I found a job, and was able to further my career, eventually starting my own company in 2003.
The condo I lived in with my girlfriend was close to an elementary school. I was able, on two occasions, to petition the local court and got the residential distance reduced to 250 feet. This was on the county level. I wasn’t aware at the time that cities have their own separate proximity laws.
Two years ago I landed a great apartment within the permissible area. Recently the complex was sold and I was forced to move. This is when I found out just how small the area is in which SOs can live in Broward or Miami-Dade Counties. It’s literally a small section of one street in Fort Lauderdale.
After spending hours looking, and hiring my former attorney to scour the county, I got very lucky to find a vacancy in one of several apartment complexes on this street. It’s less than ideal… In fact I hate the place. My fear is that if I have to leave this apartment for any reason, I would have nowhere to go in Florida (at least South Florida), as Miami-Dade County is even worse, with thousands of SOs living under a bridge.
So now I’m hunting the web for cities anywhere in the U.S. with the least restrictive registration and residence proximity laws. I am outraged over the scarlet letter I wear on my forehead, or rather, the life sentence I and many other “low level” offenders are burdened with. It’s been almost 20 years for crying out loud. My only recourse is to hire an attorney and petition the court to reduce my registration requirement. I consulted one who told me it’s essentially up to whoever the judge is at the time – it’s a crap shoot.
I intend to pursue this when I can scrape up the $2,000. But these draconian laws must change, and I thank God I found an advocacy group like RSOL.
Comments and thoughts are very welcomed.