Law professor says uphill battle for proposed law inspired by the death of Khyler Edman
Neighbors of the teen who died defending his sister during a burglary are trying to keep repeat offenders behind bars.
The suspect in Khyler Edman’s death was arrested more than 20 times, and right now, Ryan Cole is charged only with burglary as deputies try to build their case.
Cole has a lengthy criminal history, and in the past years, he’s been arrested by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office more than 20 times. The new law proposed by Khyler’s friends would keep criminals like him locked up once they get 10 or more charges.
Shawn Kolanda, a family friend, is pushing for the bill and shared his proposal with the lawmakers who can make it a reality.
“I’m here because of Khyler’s Law, which I’m proposing to get started,” he said.
Kolanda shared Khyler’s story with Charlotte County Representative Michael Grant and Senators Joe Gruters and Ben Albritton on Tuesday.
“Thank you for stepping forward and recognizing a tragedy has occurred and trying to do something to improve the quality of life in Charlotte County and in the State of Florida in honor of this young hero,” said Grant.
However, the bill presents a few problems. The first issue: Cole’s past arrests are mostly misdemeanor crimes like battery, theft and trespassing. FGCU law professor and attorney Pam Seay says similar crimes often don’t warrant a person being thrown behind bars for an extended period of time.
Seay told WINK News there are three boxes this law needs to check in order for it to advance.
- Does this bill address a specific issue?
- Is there another law out there like this?
- Lastly, is it constitutionally valid?
A lengthy process that Seay says isn’t easy.
“If you were drafting a law, it takes a great deal of effort to make sure that It is not a duplicate, and it’s not repetitive, so you want to make sure it’s unique,” Seay said. “It takes time, and it takes effort, and it takes a lot of research, so I applaud this young man for his initiative, but I think it might be a little bit too soon.”
Seay also told WINK News there’s only a certain amount of bills our representatives can propose. She said the bill would either be killed or be pushed off to the next legislative session.
Ultimately, she does not believe it will pass.
Grant’s staff said the details of the potential bill are unclear and that it’d be difficult to meet the Nov. 15 deadline to introduce a bill.
“It is frustrating, but I will do what I have to do to get a bill through Tallahassee,” said Kolanda.
However, he says nothing will stop him from pushing for change, “so no other family has to go through this again.”