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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – An appeals court has largely rejected a challenge from a plumber who argued that he had lost a substantial amount of income because of a Palm Bay ordinance placing restrictions on registered sexual predators and sex offenders.

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The licensed plumber, identified in the case as John Doe 1, is a registered sex offender because of a no-contest plea in 1999 to a sexual-battery charge.

Palm Bay, which is in Brevard County, later passed an ordinance that prohibits sexual predators and sex offenders from making deliveries or doing work at homes, schools and a variety of other places “where children or vulnerable adults may reside or regularly congregate.”

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The plumber challenged the ordinance on a number of constitutional grounds. A three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal on Friday rejected most of those arguments, though it found that part of the wording violated a constitutional ban on retroactive punishment. That wording involved the prohibition on sexual predators and sex offenders doing work where children or vulnerable adults “may” congregate.

“This language is broad enough to apply to virtually every residence in the city, as well as a vast number of businesses, regardless of whether children or vulnerable adults are likely to be present,” said the appeals-court opinion, written by Judge Kerry Evander.

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Nevertheless, the court said the word “may” could be removed — or in legal parlance, “severed” — from the ordinance, which would make the restrictions constitutional.