944.606 Sexual offenders; notification upon release.—
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Convicted” means there has been a determination of guilt as a result of a trial or the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. A conviction for a similar offense includes, but is not limited to, a conviction by a federal or military tribunal, including courts-martial conducted by the Armed Forces of the United States, and includes a conviction or entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere resulting in a sanction in any state of the United States or other jurisdiction. A sanction includes, but is not limited to, a fine; probation; community control; parole; conditional release; control release; or incarceration in a state prison, federal prison, private correctional facility, or local detention facility.
(b) “Sexual offender” means a person who has been convicted of committing, or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit, any of the criminal offenses proscribed in the following statutes in this state or similar offenses in another jurisdiction: s. 787.01, s. 787.02, or s. 787.025(2)(c), where the victim is a minor and the defendant is not the victim’s parent or guardian; s. 794.011, excluding s. 794.011(10); s. 794.05; s. 796.03; s. 796.035; s. 800.04; s. 825.1025; s. 827.071; s. 847.0133; s. 847.0135, excluding s. 847.0135(6); s. 847.0137; s. 847.0138; s. 847.0145; or s. 985.701(1); or any similar offense committed in this state which has been redesignated from a former statute number to one of those listed in this subsection, when the department has received verified information regarding such conviction; an offender’s computerized criminal history record is not, in and of itself, verified information.
(c) “Electronic mail address” has the same meaning as provided in s. 668.602.
(d) “Instant message name” means an identifier that allows a person to communicate in real time with another person using the Internet.
(2) The Legislature finds that sexual offenders, especially those who have committed their offenses against minors, often pose a high risk of engaging in sexual offenses even after being released from incarceration or commitment and that protection of the public from sexual offenders is a paramount governmental interest. Sexual offenders have a reduced expectation of privacy because of the public’s interest in public safety and in the effective operation of government. Releasing sexual offender information to law enforcement agencies and to persons who request such information, and releasing such information to the public by a law enforcement agency or public agency, will further the governmental interests of public safety.
(3)(a) The department must provide information regarding any sexual offender who is being released after serving a period of incarceration for any offense, as follows:
1. The department must provide: the sexual offender’s name, any change in the offender’s name by reason of marriage or other legal process, and any alias, if known; the correctional facility from which the sexual offender is released; the sexual offender’s social security number, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, and hair and eye color; address of any planned permanent residence or temporary residence, within the state or out of state, including a rural route address and a post office box; if no permanent or temporary address, any transient residence within the state; address, location or description, and dates of any known future temporary residence within the state or out of state; date and county of sentence and each crime for which the offender was sentenced; a copy of the offender’s fingerprints and a digitized photograph taken within 60 days before release; the date of release of the sexual offender; any electronic mail address and any instant message name required to be provided pursuant to s. 943.0435(4)(d); and home telephone number and any cellular telephone number. The department shall notify the Department of Law Enforcement if the sexual offender escapes, absconds, or dies. If the sexual offender is in the custody of a private correctional facility, the facility shall take the digitized photograph of the sexual offender within 60 days before the sexual offender’s release and provide this photograph to the Department of Corrections and also place it in the sexual offender’s file. If the sexual offender is in the custody of a local jail, the custodian of the local jail shall register the offender within 3 business days after intake of the offender for any reason and upon release, and shall notify the Department of Law Enforcement of the sexual offender’s release and provide to the Department of Law Enforcement the information specified in this paragraph and any information specified in subparagraph 2. that the Department of Law Enforcement requests.
2. The department may provide any other information deemed necessary, including criminal and corrections records, nonprivileged personnel and treatment records, when available.
(b) The department must provide the information described in subparagraph (a)1. to:
1. The sheriff of the county from where the sexual offender was sentenced;
2. The sheriff of the county and, if applicable, the police chief of the municipality, where the sexual offender plans to reside;
3. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement;
4. When requested, the victim of the offense, the victim’s parent or legal guardian if the victim is a minor, the lawful representative of the victim or of the victim’s parent or guardian if the victim is a minor, or the next of kin if the victim is a homicide victim; and
5. Any person who requests such information,
either within 6 months prior to the anticipated release of a sexual offender, or as soon as possible if an offender is released earlier than anticipated. All such information provided to the Department of Law Enforcement must be available electronically as soon as the information is in the agency’s database and must be in a format that is compatible with the requirements of the Florida Crime Information Center.
(c) Upon request, the department must provide the information described in subparagraph (a)2. to:
1. The sheriff of the county from where the sexual offender was sentenced; and
2. The sheriff of the county and, if applicable, the police chief of the municipality, where the sexual offender plans to reside,
either within 6 months prior to the anticipated release of a sexual offender, or as soon as possible if an offender is released earlier than anticipated.
(d) Upon receiving information regarding a sexual offender from the department, the Department of Law Enforcement, the sheriff or the chief of police shall provide the information described in subparagraph (a)1. to any individual who requests such information and may release the information to the public in any manner deemed appropriate, unless the information so received is confidential or exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(4) This section authorizes the department or any law enforcement agency to notify the community and the public of a sexual offender’s presence in the community. However, with respect to a sexual offender who has been found to be a “sexual predator” under chapter 775, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or any other law enforcement agency must inform the community and the public of the sexual predator’s presence in the community, as provided in chapter 775.
(5) An elected or appointed official, public employee, school administrator or employee, or agency, or any individual or entity acting at the request or upon the direction of any law enforcement agency, is immune from civil liability for damages resulting from the release of information under this section.
History.—s. 3, ch. 92-76; s. 20, ch. 95-283; s. 10, ch. 96-312; s. 65, ch. 96-388; s. 11, ch. 97-299; s. 10, ch. 98-81; s. 119, ch. 99-3; s. 10, ch. 99-201; s. 4, ch. 2000-207; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 5, ch. 2001-209; s. 5, ch. 2002-58; s. 3, ch. 2004-371; s. 4, ch. 2006-200; s. 5, ch. 2006-299; s. 161, ch. 2007-5; s. 11, ch. 2007-143; s. 6, ch. 2007-209; s. 4, ch. 2009-194; s. 7, ch. 2010-92.