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Friday, May 01, 2009

Ind. Decisions - "Court overturns sex registry conviction"

Yesterday's two Supreme Court decisions (see ILB summary here) are the subject of an AP story today in the Chicago Tribune:

The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a man's conviction for not registering as a sex offender because he had already completed a sentence for child molesting before the state's Sex Offender Registration Act was enacted.

In a unanimous ruling, the court said the subsequent conviction of Richard P. Wallace two years ago violated the state constitution's prohibition of retroactive laws.

Applying the sex registration requirement to Wallace, who completed his probation two years before the law was enacted, would impose "burdens that have the effect of adding punishment beyond that which could have been imposed when his crime was committed," Justice Robert Rucker wrote in an 18-page opinion. * * *

In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of an Allen County man who in 2000 pleaded guilty to one count of vicarious sexual gratification and one count of child molesting and spent three years in prison and another three on probation. He was also required under a separate state law at the time to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

But in 2006, the Legislature amended the law to require lifetime registration as a "sexually violent predator."

Jensen appealed the conviction in Allen Superior Court, arguing the law was retroactive and that his original plea agreement was made invalid because he wasn't advised he would have to register for life.

The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, but in Thursday's 3-2 ruling the Supreme Court rejected his arguments, saying Jensen "cites no evidence of a punitive intent on the part of the Legislature. ... Thus we presume that the Legislature's intent was civil and regulatory, and not criminal or punitive in relation to the claim that the act is an ex post facto violation."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 1, 2009 01:11 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions