Nowhere to Live in Florida

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.

Steve

3 Comments

  1. david

    I’m sorry about your situation Steve. Are you a tier 1, 2 or 3?

    About all you can do is look online. It seems like a gamble no matter where you go as the laws are constantly changing. I’m under the impression Washington State might be a good place, at least if you’re a tier 1.

    I’ve wondered the same thing myself- where to go- it’s hard to get an answer. It’s pretty tough everywhere. It might be easier to ask where NOT to go. Seems like Florida is one of the worst places. I am blessed to have a fantastic P.O. and we were talking about good places for S.O.’s to live. She didn’t know for sure either but she said, “Don’t go to Florida. It’s bad.”

    Live well Steve!

  2. Creamice

    Sadly, sex registries have no real law enforcement value. Offenders are most often, first time offenders known to the victim. The sex offender registry has simply become a mondern day version of Hawthorne’s Scarlet letter as a way to increase the severity of punishment without filling prisons.

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