Thursday, May 10, 2018

After 11 years of this, the courts need to drop the hammer on Lauren's law.

https://wsvn.com/news/local/deadline-for-sex-offender-camp-relocation-may-be-pushed-back/

Legal Services Moves to Block Miami-Dade's Tent City Ordinance
Legal Services of Greater Miami (LSGM) is seeking to enjoin Miami-Dade from enforcing an ordinance, scheduled to go into effect Thursday, that would force the homeless sex offenders out of their dwellings. The recently enacted ordinance prohibits overnight camping on county property.
By Michael Booth | May 08, 2018 at 05:38 PM

A lawsuit against Miami-Dade County seeks to block officials from closing what paroled sex offenders claim is one of the few places where they are allowed to live.

Legal Services of Greater Miami (LSGM) is seeking to enjoin Miami-Dade from enforcing an ordinance, scheduled to go into effect Thursday, that would force the homeless sex offenders out of their dwellings. The recently enacted ordinance prohibits overnight camping on county property.

The encampment, comprising about 200 individuals, is located in the northeast section of the county, near Hialeah, in an industrial zone.

Miami-Dade officials had intended to close down the encampment last Sunday, but agreed to the temporary delay after LSGM and the American Civil Liberties Union announced their intention to file a lawsuit blocking the move.

“The county wants to banish them to the edge of the Everglades,” said LSGM Senior Staff Attorney Jeffrey Hearne in the complaint. “Plaintiffs live in the encampment because they have not been able to find anywhere else to live and are involuntarily homeless.”

If the restrictions go into effect, the residents of the tent city could face trespassing charges and then be charged with violating the terms of their parole.

Miami-Dade has one of the most restrictive laws in the country limiting where paroled sex offenders may live, the suit claims. Paroled sex offenders are barred from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park or bus stop, or any location where children may gather. They are also barred from seeking housing in any county-run homeless shelter.

For years, until 2010, most of those sex offenders lived in an encampment underneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway, which connects Interstate 95 with Miami Beach. Miami-Dade closed that settlement down, and most of  the residents moved to the Hialeah area.

Advocates for the current tent-city dwellers say law governing sex offenders effectively bars them from living almost everywhere in Miami-Dade.

“This encampment is obviously not an acceptable housing situation for anyone, but to further violate our client’s constitutional rights to solve a problem that the county created in the first place is cruel,” said Hearne in a statement.

“Since the housing ban lasts for life, many of these people are elderly, infirm, or incapacitated,” said Valerie Jonas, counsel with the ACLU of Florida. “If the hundreds of individuals are banished to the border of the Everglades, they will be forced to live out their lives on the literal margins of society without any cover from the elements. The county created this problem by restricting areas in which our clients can and cannot live, and the county can solve this problem now by repealing the residence restriction.”

Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney Michael Valdez said the government would not comment on pending litigation.

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