Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ind. Decisions - "Federal sex registry law not retroactive"
A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Monday that an enhanced federal sex offender registry law cannot be applied to those who violated the law before it took effect.
The ruling was good news for Valparaiso-based attorney Bryan Truitt and his client, Marcus Dixon, who will be released from custody four years earlier than expected.
The ruling also could have a ripple effect on as many as 1,000 similar cases across the country, Truitt said.
"This thing could have a nationwide impact," he said.
Dixon was found guilty a year ago of failing to register as a sex offender when he cut an electronic monitoring bracelet off his ankle and moved from South Carolina to Michigan City during May 2006. He was sentenced to 55 months in prison under the enhanced penalties of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which took effect a few months after his offense.
The act requires sex offenders to keep their registration current no matter where they live and carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years, as compared to 90 days under South Carolina law and up to one year under the former federal law.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did not go so far as to uphold Truitt's challenge to the constitutionality of the federal registry law. Truitt had argued in part that the law illegally treads on rights reserved for the states.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 23, 2008 08:52 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions