Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Sexual Offender Ordered Released; Florida Supreme Court Declines to Hear Arguments to Hold Him Longer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Sexual Offender Ordered Released; Florida Supreme Court Declines to Hear Arguments to Hold Him Longer

Article excerpt

Byline: Larry Hannan

A registered sex offender from Jacksonville will be getting released from civil commitment after the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear his case.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee previously ordered Victor V. Reed released, but that decision was put on hold while the Supreme Court decided whether to take up the case. Thursday, the justices unanimously said they would not consider it, which means the lower appellate court ruling is binding.

Officials with the offices of State Attorney Angela Corey and Attorney General Pam Bondi conceded Thursday there was nothing they could do to keep Reed locked up. Corey's office handled Reed's case at trial and Bondi's office dealt with his appeals.

"At this time, it appears that all measures have been exhausted and the defendant will be released from the Florida Civil Commitment Center," said Corey spokeswoman Jackelyn Barnard. "However, the defendant is still on sex-offender probation."

Reed, 49, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual battery in May 2013 and got sentenced to the 481 days he had already served in jail. Usually that would mean Reed was free, but he remained in custody overnight to be "processed out."

The next day the Department of Corrections notified the Department of Children and Families that Reed was a potential Jimmy Ryce Act inmate. The act allows for the psychiatric review or civil commitment of sexually violent offenders even after they finish their prison sentences.

Children and Families responded with a "detainer" letter asking for Reed to be transported to the Florida Civil Commitment Center, which is where sexual offenders and predators are kept under the Jimmy Ryce Act.

Prosecutors asked that Reed be detained there because he had "a lengthy history of sexual battery and rape, spanning at least a decade or more" and that he "suffers from a mental abnormality and/or personality disorder that makes him likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care and treatment."

Circuit Judge Virginia Norton found probable cause that Reed was sexually violent and ordered him held indefinitely. …

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