Sex Offender Begs For More Jail Time

Under house arrest and homeless

Florida sex offender Raphael Marquez was just released from an eight-year prison term, but now he's begging the judge to send him back.

Marquez is one of many sex offenders whose new beginnings have been tripped up by a patchwork of laws designed to protect the public from sexual predators.

These laws require offenders to register with the communities in which they live and stay away from schools and playgrounds, leaving some who have served their time and are trying to comply with the law homeless.

Marquez was released June 20, but the only legal and affordable option he could find was a rat-infested overpass in Broward County next to a park filled with 100 other sex offenders.

"This is a very nasty crime, but I deserve a second chance," said the 38-year-old former cabinet maker who was charged with sexual battery of a 12-year-old relative.

"I am positive I won't do this again, but I need all the support and help I can get," Marquez told "I am willing to risk my life on it."

Under House Arrest and Homeless

Marquez is just one of hundreds of sex offenders who are unable to find work or housing in Broward County. One local blogger describes his plight as being "under house arrest without a home."

And the problem isn't just there. In Miami, a legal battle has erupted over a growing colony of sex offenders who have been forced under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The vagrants live in shacks, creating a national dialogue over the unintended consequences of residency laws.

Marquez was required to register in his Oakland Park neighborhood and carry a large GPS box to track his every move.

He must observe an indoor curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and not live within 2,500 feet of a school, day care facility, playground or other place where children regularly congregate.

That, in addition to the high cost of rent, has made finding a place to live impossible, according to his public defender lawyer, Cheryl Koewing.

"No one wants to employ him," Koewing told "How can law enforcement keep track of these individuals and not have them turning to other means to get food to live? They've served their time."

Marquez can't drive alone without his parole officer's approval, rent a post office box or use the Internet. He must submit to warrantless searches of his home and vehicle, as well as to sex counseling and regular polygraphs at his own expense.

Better Jail Than Violate Parole

"I'd rather be here than violate my probation and run," said Marquez, stressed and losing weight in the Broward County Jail. "I am back to square one."

Twenty-four of Broward's 31 cities have adopted laws banning offenders from moving near children. The state requires only 1,000 feet separation, but most of these cities have 2,500-feet buffer zones, essentially blanketing entire cities.

Marquez could have moved to Broadview Park, a small swath of unincorporated neighborhood that is packed with about 100 sex offenders. But in April, officials passed an ordinance making that illegal.

His mother wired him $500, which he spent on cheap motels, but that money ran out. His parole officer found him a rehabilitation home for sex offenders, but he couldn't afford the $750 deposit and had no transportation to get there.

Marquez, who has no family in Florida, wants to move to Buffalo with his mother, hoping that he can trade more time in prison to get lifetime regular probation, allowing him to travel across state lines.

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