Deltona, Fl., faces a serious legal challenge to sex-offender prohibition zones like those that dozens of Florida cities have created to ban sex offenders from their neighborhoods, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The city has been ordered to pay for the legal defense of two sex offenders it is trying to eject. The men are accused of moving within a half-mile of schools, day-care centers, parks, playgroundsand other places where children congregate. Two judges wrote that the city is subjecting such sex offenders “to potential loss of liberty, loss of property and relocation of their residence without making any provision for their legal representation” guaranteed by the Constitution.
The judges said the offenders were caught in a “legal limbo” because they couldn’t afford an attorney and are not legally allowed to get a public defender because a city-ordinance violation is involved. Florida law sets up 1,000-foot buffer zones around places where children congregate, but scores of Florida cities expanded the forbidden zone to 2,500 feet in after the 2005 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. Most Deltona’s zones blanket nearly the entire city.