The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Will. He released a sex offender from jail even though the man is homeless and Florida law requires these people to give an address where they will be living.
Judge Will is just another sign of how warped our justice system is. This judge feels obliged to protect a convicted criminal rather than the innocent residents of Volusia County. He threatened to hold law enforcement officials in contempt. The citizens of Volusia County should instead show their contempt for morons like this by removing this judge from the bench. A revolution will happen one day when a Knucklehead like this lets one criminal too many go. Don't say I didn't warn all of you.
Trackbacks,- Cafe Oregano, Political Teen and Mudville Gazette
DAYTONA BEACH -- Circuit Judge Joseph Will ordered a sex offender released from jail Wednesday and warned probation officials might be held in contempt of court if they rearrest him for not having a valid address.
Will called the Department of Correction's policy of rearresting offenders before they even leave the jail "ridiculous."
But state prosecutors say homelessness is "not an option" for supervised sex offenders.
Christopher Daughtry, 34, has been confined to the county jail since Aug. 6 because he could not find a place to live after his release from state prison. Recent ordinances by local cities restricting where sex offenders may live hampered that search.
"To creatively construe the statute in such a way that he never gets out is wrong," Judge Will said. "I can't let that happen on my watch."
The judge gave strict probation requirements to Daughtry, who served a seven-year sentence after attempting to force a 14-year-old girl to have sex. He is required to find employment and wear an electronic global positioning satellite monitor to track his whereabouts until he finds suitable housing, and will have to check in daily with probation officers.
While corrections officials have said they are required to supply the state Department of Law Enforcement with a valid address for released sex offenders under supervision, the judge ruled that a "post office address" is not needed.
"He could live on the bank of a river, under a piece of cardboard or under a piece of newspaper," the judge said of Daughtry, "as long as it's not 1,000 feet from anywhere that would violate that statute."
Will's order found the application of the law -- but not the law itself -- to be unconstitutional.
"When a man, even a sex offender, has served his time and thereby paid his debt to society," Will wrote in his 11-page order, "it is fundamentally unfair to artfully devise rules that make it impossible for him to function or to even be released from incarceration."
Prosecutors asked that Daughtry be reminded he also has to report where he is living to the FDLE and state Department of Motor Vehicles.
"If you're not residing where your supposed to be," Will told Daughtry, "you're going to be in bigger trouble than you've ever known."
Will's order calls for the state Department of Corrections to create and implement a policy to review the circumstances of each sex offender before release from prison, and seek a decision from a court when problems arise.
The judge said he decided to take action after DOC officials said they would immediately rearrest supervised sex offenders who didn't have acceptable addresses, even if the court found them not guilty of a violation -- a situation Will likened to the Hotel California in a song by the Eagles, where "you can check out but never leave."
Will ordered the corrections department to help Daughtry find suitable housing "by any means within its ability."