Florida Supreme Court Upholds Sexual Predator List

Bob Sparks of the Florida Attorney General's Office says, "If one knows that a convicted sexual predator or offender is in their neighborhood, it allows them to be extra cautious."

Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court deems a public list of sexual predators and offenders not unconstitutional.

SGT Rob Pace with the Leon County Sheriff's Office says the Florida Sexual Predator Act has come under fire by some who feel offenders should not be placed on a public list along with predators, who make it on the list on a judge's order.

SGT Rob Pace says, "They determine whether or not a person is deemed a sexual predator and that's done by court order. Now, an offender is a person who meets the qualifications, but there is not court order for them to be placed on the sexual predator list."

The law in both Florida and Georgia is modeled after Megan's Law in New Jersey, stemming from a case where a seven year old girl was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender living in her neighborhood.

That's why many parents and guardians feel the list, in general, is needed.

Charlotte Kassack, grandparent, says, "I think it's a great thing for parents to be informed if there is a sexual predator, especially if he is just moving into your neighborhood."

The federal version of Megan's Law passed in '96 requires all 50 states to release information to the public about known convicted sex offenders when it is necessary to insure safety, but does not mandate active notification. Florida justices upheld the law Thursday by a vote of 4 to 3.