Convicted Rapist Committed to Florida Civil Commitment Center as Violent Sexual Offender
Whittel & Melton, LLC 866-608-5529 – Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys
A 51-year-old man convicted of committing sexual battery against three Palm Beach County women between 1988 and 1990 was committed as a violent sexual offender Friday under the Jimmy Ryce Act.
According to the Palm Beach County State Attorney, the man was sent to the Florida Civil Commitment Center for long-term care, custody and sexual- offender treatment.
The man’s previous convictions resulted in a 30-year prison sentence. According to court records, one of the three attacks occurred after the man escaped from prison in 1988. The other two apparently took place after the man was mistakenly released from prison in 1989.
The man was allegedly evaluated by two doctors who believe the man to be a sexually violent predator suffering from a mental disorder. According to court testimony, both doctors concurred that the man is likely to commit more sex crimes if released from custody.
Under the Jimmy Ryce Act, sexual offenders convicted of sexually violent offenses can be held indefinitely to receive sexual offender treatment. The Florida Legislature created the act that was passed in 1998 as a result of the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 9-year-old boy walking home from school in Miami-Dade County in 1995. After a person convicted of a sex crime has served out the sentence for the offense, they can be confined at a facility to receive treatment until they are no longer perceived as a threat to society.
Civil commitment laws apply only to those that enter pleas or are convicted of sexually violent offenses by a jury. Any person charged with a sexually violent offense should seek the advice of a Florida Sex Crimes Attorney before entering any plea or accepting any deals offered by the prosecution. While a plea carrying a short amount of prison time may appear to be the best way to resolve a case, it may not be that simple. In fact, a defendant may not be released if a plea is entered for an offense that puts them in danger of civil confinement.
The Department of Children and Family Services runs Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program. Once a person nears the end of their incarceration, DCF will review the case and decide if civil confinement is an option. The person will undergo evaluations with mental health professionals which will heavily influence the DCF’s decision. A person can voluntarily enter civil confinement or must be deemed a sexually violent predator likely to re-offend through a civil trial.
Individuals undergoing Jimmy Ryce actions are entitled to counsel. The Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can assist those being considered for civil commitment fight for their freedom.
If you have been labeled a sexually violent predator and are at risk for civil commitment in Florida, contact the Florida Violent Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.