Daytona Beach, FL - After unanimous approval in both the state House and Senate, House Bill 333 clears its final hurdle and is now signed into law.
That now means anyone who commits a crime that requires sexual offender registration will not be able to receive bail on post-trial motions or appeals.
And one of the bill's supporters, Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood, couldn't be happier with that news.
"Everybody is thrilled to death," said Chitwood.
The origin of the bill can be traced back to last June, following the conviction of former Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor Mark Fugler, who was accused of nine felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Two months after Fugler's conviction, a judge sentenced him to 15 years in state prison. But, almost a month after his sentence was delivered, Fugler was granted a $200,000 bond as his nine charges were under an appeal.
The decision to release Fugler on bond soon came under fire by Sheriff Chitwood and other members of the Volusia County community, including its lawmakers. Representative Tom Leek began the fight to restrict bail for sex offenders in the state House, while Senator Tom Wright began the fight in the senate.
A month after the language for the bill was crafted, the State Attorney's office filed a motion to revoke Fugler's bond, claiming that he had no "significant ties" to the Volusia County area, which was the court's argument for granting him bond.
Within three days of that motion, Senior Judge R. Michael Hutcheson made the decision to revoke Fugler's bond, which brought him back into the custody of Volusia County.
"I hope that Mr. Fugler is enjoying his cell in a state prison," commented Chitwood. "I hope he gets plenty of time to reflect on stealing the childhood from our young victim in this case."
Sheriff Chitwood also thanked Representative Leek and Senator Wright for their immediate assistance in crafting HB 333.
According to data from the Florida Department of Corrections, Fugler is currently incarcerated in a medium-security facility with a release date of April 12th, 2034.