Indiana Courts Question Validity of Sex Offender Registration Laws

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East Hartford Crimes Against Children LawyerPeople who are arrested or convicted of sexual offenses, such as sexual assault or crimes against children, often face significant difficulties. In addition to criminal penalties that may include long periods of incarceration and large fines, those who are convicted of sex crimes will usually be required to register as sex offenders. This can impose limitations on where they can live, and it may make it difficult or impossible to find employment. Unfortunately, many people encounter confusion about which laws apply to them, including their requirements when moving to a different state. These issues have been illustrated in an ongoing court case in Indiana involving six defendants who have argued that the state's sex offender registration law treats them unfairly.

Issues Related to the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act

The state of Indiana enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) in 1994, and in addition to requiring people convicted of sex crimes in the state to register as sex offenders, it also requires people convicted of these offenses in other states to register in Indiana if they will live or work in the state. However, the law placed additional requirements on people from other states; namely, those who were convicted of sex offenses or required to register as sex offenders in other states are required to register as sex offenders in Indiana, even if they committed offenses prior to when SORA went into effect.

The defendants in the current court case have argued that this law treats them unfairly. As residents of other states, they have been subject to restrictions that did not apply to residents of Indiana. They have claimed that the requirement to register as sex offenders in Indiana has limited their right to travel between different states. They are also claiming that the law violates their equal protection rights, since the law did not exist when they originally committed offenses, and it imposes penalties that are more severe than those that would apply to Indiana residents.

Attorneys representing the defendants illustrated the issues with the law by noting that two people who committed the same offense at the same time, and potentially even in the same location, could face different consequences based on where they were living at that time. In one case, a defendant who had committed a sex crime in Indiana before SORA was enacted was not required to register as a sex offender, but when he moved to Texas and then moved back to Indiana at a later date, he became subject to lifetime sex offender registration.

Issues related to sex offender registration can be confusing for many people, no matter where they are living or what state they plan to move to. Differences in laws between states may cause a person to inadvertently fail to register when required, which could lead to additional criminal penalties. In Connecticut, offenders who are convicted of criminal offenses against minors or non-violent sexual offenses are typically required to register as sex offenders for 10 years. People who are convicted of these types of offenses for a second time or those who are convicted of sexually violent offenses will be required to register for life. The sex offender registration requirements begin when a person is released into the community after serving a sentence of imprisonment, and they also apply to anyone who was convicted of an equivalent criminal offense in another state.

Contact Our Hartford Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

The penalties for a sex crime conviction can be severe, and they can follow a person for the rest of their life. It is important to understand when a person will be required to register as a sex offender in Connecticut or other states, and meeting these requirements will ensure that they will not face additional penalties. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we provide representation for those who have been accused of sex crimes or those who have been charged with violating sex offender registration laws. We fight to protect our clients' rights and help them resolve these cases successfully. To set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can help in these situations, contact our Connecticut sexual offenses attorney at 860-290-8690.

 

Sources:

https://www.courthousenews.com/seventh-circuit-revisits-controversial-indiana-sex-offender-law/

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_969.htm

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2020/rpt/pdf/2020-R-0337.pdf

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