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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Law - Ohio federal judge rules sex offender living near school can't be evicted

Joe Milicia of Associated Press reports in a story in the Cincinnati Post:

CLEVELAND - Authorities cannot evict a convicted rapist whose home is near a school, a federal judge in Akron ordered Tuesday, ruling that the state's law limiting where sex offenders live is unconstitutional if applied to crimes committed before the law went into effect. * * *

Judge James S. Gwin ruled that the law cannot be applied to sex offenders who committed crimes before July 31, 2003, the effective date of the Ohio legislature's ban on offenders living within 1,000 feet of school property.

Gwin ruled that the law punishes sex offenders and ordered county Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh not to enforce the law against Mikaloff.

John Manley, chief counsel with the Summit County prosecutor's office in Akron, said the prosecutor's staff disagreed with the ruling and that an appeal was likely.

"We maintain it's not a punitive measure, it's merely a protective measure," he said.

If not considered punishment, the law wouldn't violate the constitutional prohibition against imposing a new penalty retroactively, Manley said.

"Sex offenders ruling could have wide effect: Barring reversal on appeal, Akron decision is viewed as binding on other cases" is the headline to this story by Ed Meyer in the Akron Beacon Jounral. Some quotes:
Thousands of Ohio sex offenders could be affected by this week's federal court ruling that a law barring offenders from living near a school is unconstitutional, defense lawyers said.

David A. Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati, said Tuesday's ruling in U.S. District Court in Akron is binding on all similar cases that might arise in the court's northern district, unless it is reversed on appeal.

In a 21-page decision, Judge James S. Gwin found that the state law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school is unconstitutional for those who committed their crimes before the law took effect on July 31, 2003.

The same issue is pending before a number of state courts in Indiana - see this list of ILB entries.

[More] The Terre Haute Trib-Star has an article today by Laura Followell that reports:

BRAZIL — When it comes to the sex offender registry, Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton has decided to relieve some of the taxpayers’ burden.

As of Wednesday, sex offenders must pay a $50 yearly fee when they register in Clay County.

The money will help offset costs associated with processing, tracking and communicating with sex offenders, Heaton said.

“Right now the taxpayers are footing the bill for everything we do. But as part of these individuals’ sentences, for whatever their offense is, this is part of it. They have to register. It’s putting some of the cost off on them,” Heaton said.

The State of Indiana collects 10 percent of an offender’s first registration fee, thereafter Clay County gets 100 percent of the fee for the duration of the offender’s required registration. * * *

The registration fee is optional for every county in Indiana, and the Clay County Council passed Heaton’s proposal.

Each Indiana sheriff is responsible for the sheriff’s registry because of a state law mandating that their departments establish and maintain a Web site providing detailed information about sex offenders.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 6, 2007 06:17 AM
Posted to General Law Related