On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, an amended complaint was filed in the legal challenge to Florida’s “Internet Identifier” registration requirements that is pending in Federal Court in the Northern District of Florida.
The original complaint was filed to challenge the 2014 and 2016 versions of this law. The Judge granted an injunction, blocking the implementation of the 2016 version, days before it was to take effect on October 1, 2016.
The government’s response was to pass a new law in 2017 and have it take effect immediately. This left registrants scrambling to comply with a law nobody (including the FDLE) understands how to comply with. A dirty move by the State, but something we all have come to expect from them and one that the Court will probably see right through.
The amended complaint begins, “For the third time, the State of Florida has passed an unconstitutional statute requiring sexual offenders to publicly register their private information. After Plaintiffs filed suit against the 2014 and 2016 versions, and the latter was preliminarily enjoined without appeal, the State passed a third version in a supposed attempt to cure its deficiencies, yet once again the State has failed. The latest version of the law, which went into effect on June 27, 2017, retains many features of the previous version, and is still unconstitutional. Therefore, Plaintiffs once again seek to enjoin it.”
The amended complaint challenges the Internet identifier requirement (now all three versions), under First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The First Amendment because of the infringement on free speech (and ban on Anonymous speech, which is also a Constitutional right). The Fourteenth Amendment because it’s so hopelessly vague that a person of ordinary intelligence would not be able to determine which sites are covered and which are not. At the risk of facing five years in prison for making a wrong presumption, the law will likely deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.