Florida's Anti-Murder Act

Florida's Anti-Murder Act limits a judge's ability to grant bond in felony violation of probation cases if the probationer is on probation for a Sexually Motivated Offense or qualifies as a Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern.

Sexually Motivated Offenses

Probationers who are on probation for a sexually motivated offense such as Sexual Battery, Lewd and Lascivious Offenses, or Sex Crimes Against Children are ineligible for bond prior to a violation of probation hearing unless the presiding judge conducts a “Danger Hearing” and determines the probationer is not a danger to the public.

Danger Hearing

The hearing held to determine whether a probationer poses a danger to the community is referred to as a Danger Hearing.

During the Danger Hearing, a judge can consider the following factors in determining whether the person can be granted bond:

  1. The nature and circumstances of the violation and any new offenses charged;
  2. Past and present conduct, including convictions of crimes;
  3. Any record of arrests without conviction for crimes involving violence or sexual crimes;
  4. Any other evidence of allegations of unlawful sexual conduct or the use of violence by the offender or probationer;
  5. Family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, and mental condition;
  6. History and conduct during the supervision from which the violation arose and other periods of supervision, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations;
  7. The likelihood of re-engaging in a criminal course of conduct;
  8. The weight of the evidence supporting the probation violation; and
  9. Any other facts the court considers relevant.

Importantly, even if a judge determines that a probationer is not a danger to the community, the judge can still deny bail.

Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern

A Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern (VFOSC) is not allowed to be released on bond unless the alleged violation is solely for failure to pay court imposed financial obligations; otherwise the probationer must wait in jail until their violation of probation hearing and is not entitled to a bond under any circumstances.

Definition of Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern

A Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern is defined as any person who is on:

  1. Felony probation or community control related to the commission of a qualifying offense;
  2. Felony probation or community control for any offense and has previously been convicted of a qualifying offense;
  3. Felony probation or community control for any offense and is found to have violated by committing a qualifying offense;
  4. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a habitual violent felony offender;
  5. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a three-time violent felony offender; or
  6. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a sexual predator.

Qualifying Offense

A “qualifying offense” for purposes of the Anti-Murder Act is a previous conviction or commission of any of the following offenses: