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Judge Thomas orders sex offender to be freed

Judge Brad Thomas, whose views on criminal justice were well known during his time as a top aide to former Gov. Jeb Bush, has written a ruling for the First District Court of Appeal that orders the state to free a 30-year-old sex offender convicted of failing to register with the state within 48 hours of moving to a new address.

In the opinion Thomas wrote on behalf of himself and two other judges, he concludes that there was no evidence that justified Levi Griffin being sentenced to 21 months in prison. Griffin, who spent nearly three years in prison for an earlier sex offense, said he could not comply with the 48-hour rule because Hurricane Katrina led to the closing of the driver's license office in Alachua County where he lived. While the order takes 15 days to become final, it orders that Griffin be immediately released from the Columbia County prison where he is being held. More here.