Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer wants to block registered sex offenders from moving into his city, says the Washington Post. If he succeeds, Miami Beach may end up with the nation’s most restrictive sex offender policy. Dermer’s measure, which has passed one preliminary vote, would more than double the buffer zone required between the homes of registered sex offenders and schools, parks, school bus stops. or any “place where children regularly congregate.” It was inspired by the arrests of registered sex offenders in the separate killings of two Florida girls whose bodies were found one month apart.
The Miami Beach measure and bills on the state level are likely to become law soon. It is a familiar pattern: awful crimes against children, quick new laws. “Legislators very often don’t know what to do, but they want to do something,” said Louis Schlesinger of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a researcher for a Catholic Church review board that investigated the priest sex abuse scandal. The long reach of 24-hour cable news has played a huge role in the push for new laws. “This wouldn’t be happening today if wasn’t for the media,” said Florida state Rep. Charles S. Dean Sr., a former sheriff. As for the long-term outcome in Miami Beach, “The mayor better get good legal advice before he backs the city into doing something the courts will eventually find the city cannot do,” said Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union.