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Samuel James Ryce
Born September 26, 1985(1985-09-26)
Died September 11, 1995 (aged 9)
Redlands, Florida

Samuel James "Jimmy" Ryce (September 26, 1985–September 11, 1995) was a child that was abducted, raped and killed by Juan Carlos Chavez in Redlands, Florida, United States.

Contents

Jimmy's murder

On September 11, 1995, nine-year-old Jimmy was taking the bus from school. He was dropped off, along with ten classmates, and had to walk less than a block to his home. According to the confession of Juan Carlos Chavez, Chavez blocked Jimmy's path with his pickup truck and held the little boy at gunpoint forcing him inside the truck. Chavez took Jimmy to his trailer where he raped him. Later, when he heard a helicopter hovering above, Jimmy ran to the door and tried to open it only to be shot in the back by Chavez, who held the child until he took his last breath. Jimmy was just fifteen days shy of his tenth birthday when he died.

The child's dismembered body was found three months later near Chavez's trailer.

Capturing Chavez

Chavez worked for the Scheinhaus family. He lived in a trailer on their property. Around the time of Jimmy's disappearance, Scheinhaus reported several items missing from her home including a handgun and jewelry. Scheinhaus suspected Chavez, but had no evidence to support her suspicions. Aided by a locksmith, Scheinhaus entered Chavez's apartment. She found her handgun and Jimmy's bookbag. She reported her findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on December 5, 1995. Chavez was found a day later and taken in for questioning.

Being advised of his rights and after a 55-hour-long interrogation, Chavez openly admitted to abducting, raping and murdering Jimmy. Chavez also led police to the boy's body, which was dismembered and hidden in cement in three plastic planters.

The murder case

In the fall of 1998, Juan Carlos Chavez was convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. Chavez was given the death penalty. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence on November 21, 2002.[1] In July 2004, Chavez filed a motion for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The motion was amended in May 2005[2]and was heard in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on January 9, 2007.[3] The circuit court judge denied the motion on March 8, 2007.[4]Chavez filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on May 23, 2007 that is pending.

The Jimmy Ryce Act

The Jimmy Ryce Act (Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators' Treatment And Care Act) was passed unanimously by the Florida legislature and was signed by Governor Lawton Chiles on May 19, 1998, becoming effective on January 1, 1999. The act calls for inmates with sex offense histories to be reviewed by the Florida Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Family Services (CFS), and state attorneys to determine the level of risk for re-offense. Upon release from incarceration, these inmates may be subject to civil proceedings and commitment to a secure facility for treatment. That treatment center, located in Arcadia, was criticized because treatment is lacking (less than 5 hours per week), it lacks security (several incidents of murder on site, riots requiring hundreds of officers to quell) there is no method of restoring civil liberties (the program has no release stage) being underfunded, understaffed and located in an old condemned correctional facility. After running the center for 7 years, Liberty Healthcare was released by the state as the vendor, and GEO corp was retained. Unfortunately many of the issues regarding step-down programs, community placement or aftercare remain unresolved after nearly ten years.

In the fall of 2009, Florida Institutional Legal Services--which had filed a class action suit on behalf of FCCC residents against the Department of Children and Families for failure to provide constitutionally adequate treatment--filed a joint motion with the Attorney General of Florida to withdraw the suit in favor of a settlement agreement. This unprecedented move is unique in Florida (and in the SVP world) in that no Court-appointed monitor will enforce the agreement. This motion came about after significant changes were made by GEO Group staff to FCCC treatment programming and residential services. Federal Court Justice Steele accepted the joint submission and dismissed the class action suit, with prejudice, in November 2009.

See also

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