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State v. Williams

Florida Court of Appeal, First District

December 15, 2011

STATE of Florida, Appellant,
v.
Melissa Hope WILLIAMS, Appellee.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Heather Flanagan Ross, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender, and Steven L. Seliger, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

VAN NORTWICK, J.

The State appeals the trial court's order granting the motion of Melissa Hope Williams, appellee, to dismiss the information. In the information, the State alleged that Ms. Williams failed to notify the State of her address change as required by section 943.0435, Florida Statutes (2008) pursuant to her designation as a " sexual offender" under section 943.0435(1)(a)1b, Florida Statutes (2008). The trial court ruled that the registration requirement of section 943.0435(1)(a)1 distinguishes between adult and juvenile sex offenders and that Ms. Williams was not obligated to register under the juvenile registration provisions. We agree and affirm.

In 2005, Ms. Williams moved to Florida from Michigan where she had been adjudicated delinquent and required to register as a sex offender. She was thirteen years old at the time of her adjudication for a misdemeanor sexual offense that occurred when she was approximately eleven years old. Ms. Williams registered her address with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles when she first moved to Florida, but failed to reregister when she changed residences in approximately May 2009. In granting her motion to dismiss, the trial court ruled that under section 943.0435(1)(a)1d, Ms. Williams was not a " sexual offender" required to register since she was under the age of fourteen at the time of the underlying offense and the adjudication occurred before 2007, the year subparagraph d of the statute took effect.

The State argues the trial court erred by applying subsection d of section 943.0435(1)(a)1, rather than subsection b of

Page 432

the statute. Subsection b defines " sexual offender" for the purpose of the registration requirement as " any person" who was designated as a sexual offender and required to register as such in another state. We agree with the trial court that only subsection d of section 943.0435(1)(a)1 applies to juvenile offenders.

Section 943.0435(1)(a)1 defines the term " sexual offender" as a person who meets any of the criteria in subparagraphs a through d of the statute. Under these provisions, a person is a " sexual offender" when that person:

a. has been convicted of committing or attempting one of the offenses listed in certain statutory provisions;
b. is a resident of Florida and has been designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent predator, or " by another sexual offender designation in another state or jurisdiction and was, as a result of such designation, subjected to registration" ;
c. is a resident of this state or another and has been convicted, in this state or another, of kidnapping of a child, false imprisonment of a child, or luring a child by an adult for an unlawful purpose; or
d. as of July 1, 2007, has been adjudicated delinquent for committing, attempting, soliciting or conspiring to commit certain criminal offenses [[[[1]] in this state or another jurisdiction when the juvenile was 14 years of age or older.

The issue before us is whether Ms. Williams was required to register as a sex offender under the provisions of subparagraph b, or whether subparagraph d is the only authority under which persons convicted as juveniles are required to register.

In K.J.F. v. State,44 So.3d 1204 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010), this court considered the question of whether a juvenile, who was not adjudicated delinquent but who was placed under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice, was required to register as a sex offender. Because the plain language of subparagraph d applies only to a person " adjudicated delinquent" and because there is no other provision specifically providing that a juvenile whose adjudication is withheld must register as a sex offender, we held that the child in K.J.F. was not required to register. Id. at 1211. In so ...


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