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What is the Jimmy Ryce Act?

Tampa sex crimes attorneys are often asked about the Jimmy Ryce Act and its potential implications on those convicted of sex crimes after they either successfully complete probation or are released from Prison/Jail.  The Act is named after a young child, who was a victim of an extremely violent and dangerous individual with prior sexual related offenses, who was previously related from prison.  This article provides a more thorough background.  In short, the Act relates to the involuntary civil commitment of a sexually violent predator after they have completed their criminal sentences. The Jimmy Ryce Act is noteworthy for several reasons. The primary thing is that it permits the involuntary civil commitment indefinitely. This means that theoretically an individual could literally complete their sentence and be held civilly involuntarily for the rest of their life.

A sexually violent predator is deemed anyone who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense and has some sort of a personality disorder or mental health issue that makes that person likely to engage in other acts of sexual violence, if they are not being treatment or undertaking additional care per the Act. Again, we discuss what constitutes a sexually violent offender elsewhere on our Tampa sex crimes attorney blog, but for purposes of this Act, that definition should provide appropriate context.

As to the procedure for involuntary civil commitment under the Act, a judge is tasked with first determining whether there is probable cause for the individual to meet the criteria for the Jimmy Ryce Act and involuntary civil commitment. Once a judge has made a determination, the case moves on to a judge or jury. If a jury makes the decision, it must be unanimous, to find whether by “clear and convincing evidence” that the sexually violent predator does meet both criteria as laid out above. It’s worth noting though, that the civil commitment is reviewed every year to continue to determine whether there is probable cause for the continued civil commitment of the individual.  As you can imagine due to jury appeal issues, these cases aren’t generally tried before a jury.

If you have questions concerning the Jimmy Ryce Act or other questions concerning sexual offenses in Florida, contact the Tampa sex crimes attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We’ve handled thousands of criminal cases throughout the entire Tampa Bay area. If you’d like to contact one of our Tampa sex crimes attorneys immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper righthand corner of our website. If you prefer to call, we also have operators standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to connect you with one of our attorneys.  We appreciate your time in checking out our Tampa sex crimes attorney blog and look forward to working with you in the future.