Breaking: Florida judge rules homeless sex offenders can be arrested
Douglas Hanks . . . A Miami-Dade judge on Thursday cleared the way for the county to dismantle a tent village of homeless sex offenders outside Hialeah, and a lawyer for some of the residents said the ruling leaves them no choice but to live on a roadside or street somewhere else.
“They’ll most likely be relocating to another street corner,” Legal Services lawyer Jeffrey Hearne said after the hearing before Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. in Circuit Court. “New encampments will pop up. And this cycle will continue.”
Kendall residents have already been picketing over another potential offender camp where Krome Avenue meets Kendall Drive at the western edge of the county. Miami-Dade’s rules bar sex offenders from living with 2,500 feet of a school, a restriction that’s far stricter than the 1,000-foot radius required by Florida law. Hearne said that the Krome camp has already been subject to a drive-by splattering from a paint gun.
“The vigilantism is a real concern,” he said.
A lawyer for the county said Thursday that Miami-Dade has tried to find apartments for the nearly 100 tent dwellers in the encampment, and that many have left in recent months. But with Miami-Dade now ready to enforce a new law that gives police the ability to arrest sex offenders for sleeping on county property, the tents on a county-maintained roadside off Northwest 71st Streetwill no longer be a viable refuge, both sides said.