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Friday, December 12, 2014

Everyone Loves a Lottery Winner, Unless it’s a Registered Sex Offender: Mr. Mayo of the Sun Sentinel is Equating Such a Situation to the New Law Denying Nazi’s Social Security and Has Suggested State Lawmakers Take Action So it Never Happens Again

 
OK… I have avoided this Florida story for days now. I really try not to get sucked into stories like this, I try to rise above the fray but every time I check online news or turn on the television for the morning, afternoon or evening news there’s another writer, editorial, commentary or reporter talking about the Registered Sex Offender who won the Florida lottery followed by the publics ignorant and hateful response that he shouldn’t be allowed to keep the money because he doesn’t deserve it or that there should be a law making it illegal for RSO’s to play or win lotteries in the future.  
 

·       Mayo: Easiest bill for 2015 - No jackpots for sex predators, December 11, 2014
·       Sex offenders can win state lottery, are you kidding? December 11, 2014
·         Florida sexual predator wins $3 million lottery. Can he collect?
·       Millionaire Predator: Sex Offender Wins Lottery, December 11, 2014
·       Can a child molester win the lottery and keep his fortune? In Florida, the short answer is yes, December 11, 2014
·       Florida Sex Offender Wins Lottery
·       Friend says sex offender who won $3 million in Florida lottery ‘deserves a break’, December 11, 2014
·       Convicted Sex Offender Wins the Lottery, Gets $3 Million, December 11, 2014
·       Sex offender wins $3M lottery, December 10, 2014

Including tweets from respectable national news organizations (like this https://twitter.com/USATODAY/status/543048957157707776/photo/1 ) sarcastically congratulating the lottery winner which lead to terrible comments being posted and could easily lead angry readers/viewers who live nearby to lash-out against the RSO by vandalizing his property, threatening him or his family member’s safety ……or worse arson or murder. One easily influenced vigilante who agrees with these news outlets that the RSO doesn’t deserve the winnings could take matters into their own hands and these news outlets would be to blame. 
 
This isn’t the first Registered Sex Offender who has won a lottery has been lambasted in the news with a public outcry against their ability to claim their prize, in fact this is the third RSO to win a lottery. 

In America if you pay your court-ordered debt to society (serve time in prison, pay court fees, pay required restitution, follow and complete probation, follow and complete any mandated therapy and treatment) you are supposed to be allowed to reenter society to be come a contributing, taxpaying citizen. Unless you’re a Registered Sex Offender because you are listed on your States Registry for all to see so you can be tracked, monitored and managed usually for life. 

The reason for the Registries (per the lawmakers 20 years ago) was because citizens had a right to know who had been convicted of sex crimes, where they lived and where they work. The Registries weren’t punitive, just administrative; otherwise the Registries would be unconstitutional! But if an offender fails to report any change with their information immediately and accurately they face a new felony. That’s not administrative, that’s punitive! 

  1. If a former Murderer won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  2. If a former Vehicle Homicide offender won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  3. If a former DUI/DWI offender won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  4. If a former Weapons Tafficker won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  5. If a former Drug Dealer won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  6. If a former Drug User won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  7. If a former Burglar won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  8. If a former Robber won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  9. If a former Vehicle Thief/Car-Jacker won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  10. If a former Domestic Batterer won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  11. If a former Animal Abuser won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them.
  12. If a former Embezzler won the lottery, would the public know about it? No because there is no registry for them. 
And if any of these “former-offenders” did win a lottery the local news most likely wouldn’t make a huge deal about it and if they did run a story I guarantee most comments about the former-offender would be supportive and about second-chances and rehabilitation. But yet the recidivism (re-offense) rate for every crime above (except Murder) is 3 to 6 times higher than for Registered Sex Offenders.  

But because it’s a Registered Sex Offender Columnist like Michael May of the Sun Sentinel saying this, “If we can ban Social Security benefits for Nazis, how about no big lottery jackpots for sex predators?” And then daring Florida lawmakers to take his advice to disqualify RSO’s from ever being allowed to win “big prizes, the ones that require redemption from Lottery offices” a scratch-off $100 prize is acceptable to Mr. May for RSO’s .......but that’s enough. 

Well Mr. Mayo, you’re wrong! 

The State can not ban certain citizens from playing the lottery, betting on horse racing or gambling in a casino, not even citizens that you deem unworthy. Anyone who spends their money to “wage a bet” and is lucky enough to win is allowed to keep their winnings. 

I’m guessing by your reference to the Nazi Bill that just passed through Congress you’d be fine with revoking ALL earned benefits from RSO’s and their families? Heck, take their car, their house and seize their bank account why are they allowed to have anything, at all? 

How about......... not allowing ANYONE convicted of a felony from ever earning more than minimum wage or ever owning a business or their own? 

RSO’s are in our communities, they have paid their debt to society and they are doing their best to find and retain employment and housing while bearing the scarlet letter of Sex Offender all under the guise of public safety and the publics right to know and it’s not supposed to be punitive, attempting to deny them the ability to win the lottery with their own money because they are listed on a public Registry, is punitive! 

Any such proposal by a Florida lawmaker should be vigorously opposed and if it did actually become law I hope the ACLU of Florida would fight to stop it. 

I can guarantee all of you…… I would fight such a hateful and punitive proposal here in Virginia if it was ever an issue because it’s wrong and someone has to stand up against laws that are prejudicial against one particular group of citizens simply because the majority doesn’t like them. And that’s what Mr. Mayo’s proposal is, hate based legislation........pure and simple. 

Mary Devoy