A finding by a Jacksonville jury this week proves again that Jacksonville sex crimes are handled completely differently than any other crime in the state of Florida. William Larimore was set to be released after serving 18 months for failing to registered as a sex offender, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. But instead of accepting the sentence at its conclusion, the state asked for more time – just not in prison – something that is only done to sexual offenders. The state argued Larimore never received mental health counseling for his original crimes – committed in the early 1990s – and that he should be committed to the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, essentially a state-funded warehouse for sexual offenders no longer in prison.
The standard presented to the jury this week under the Jimmy Ryce Act: Is Larimore likely to reoffend? If so, he should be committed. If not, he should be released when he has completed his prison time. A jury unanimously decided he is likely to do it again, so they sent him to Arcadia. The sentences in Arcadia are indefinite – when a doctor deems him fit to return to society he can leave. Until then, he stays. For no other crime is a jury asked to look into a crystal ball and decide whether a person can walk free. Juries make decisions based on events that have already taken place; not that might happen in the future. And does any juror really want it hanging over them if the person does get out and do it again? The safe call is to just keep him away from children. The state knows that and hammers it home during these Jacksonville trials. In all other crimes, sentences are handed down by judges. Even in death penalty cases when juries make a recommendation. Who has the final say? The judge.
This case highlights why it is essential that anyone even accused of a sex crime in Jacksonville or anywhere in Northeast Florida to immediately contact an experienced Jacksonville Sex Crime Attorney. The stakes are too high on sex crimes and the rules are different.
Sex crimes are the only crime that, if you are convicted, allows the state to broadcast your history every time you move to a new neighborhood, alerting everyone in a certain geographic radius. Once the accusation is first made, it is difficult to emerge from.
And, even if you’ve done the time the court has required of you, the state can always come back for more.
If you or a loved one needs a sex crimes attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.