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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ind. Decisions - More on "Federal sex registry law not retroactive"

Updating this ILB entry from Dec. 23, Monday's 7th Circuit decision of two sex offender cases with Indiana defendants (see ILB summary here) is the subject of a story today by Andy Grimm of the Gary Post-Tribune:

CHICAGO -- An appeals court ruling will free a Michigan City man serving a five-year sentence for failing to register as a sex offender when he moved from Indiana to South Carolina.

Marcus Dixon turned himself in to authorities in April 2007 after a friend was arrested for violating a federal sex offender registry law. Dixon thought he was facing a 60-day sentence, as state law stipulated at the time, but found out federal law -- and an order from the U.S. Attorney General two months earlier -- had extended the sentence to up to 10 years in federal prison.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that Dixon couldn't be prosecuted because although the Attorney General's order required sex offenders to register when they moved from one state to another, it didn't give notice to the offenders.

Dixon had presented seven arguments challenging his guilty verdict, including one that questioned the federal government's Constitutional power to impose sex offender laws on the states, but the court considered only the "ex post facto" argument in their ruling, said Bryan Truitt, Dixon's attorney.

"There are other people in the 7th Circuit that have put their appeals on hold for this ruling and maybe 1,000 nationwide in the same situation as Dixon," Truitt said. "When they release all these people, the prison system is going to have to notify them of their duty to register."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 24, 2008 09:27 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions