Rapist Held under New Civil Law

Article excerpt

The State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville has filed its first civil petition against a convicted sex offender under the new Jimmy Ryce Law.

The law allows state officials to continue the involuntary confinement of an adult convicted of a sex offense or a sexually-motivated offense after the prisoner's sentence is over if doctors determine the inmate is a danger to society.

The new law went into effect Jan. 1, which was also the prison release date for Rickey B. Jones, 37, who was convicted in 1990 of raping a woman at knife point in Duval County.

Friday morning, Chief Judge Donald R. Moran Jr. signed an order directing that Jones be transferred from the prison he had been confined in to the Martin Treatment Center in Indian Town and then onto Jacksonville.

The Martin Treatment Center is where the Florida Department of Children and Families is holding inmates released from prison who may qualify for the new law, named after 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce of Dade County who was raped and killed in 1995 by a ranch hand.

Florida lawmakers created the law -- known as The Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment and Care Act -- last spring to create a civil commitment procedure for the long-term care and treatment of sexually violent predators. …