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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ind. Decisions - "Ex-sex offender hopeful after residency ruling"

The Supreme Court decision July 1 in the case of State of Indiana v. Anthony W. Pollard (ILB summary here) is the subject of a story today by Sophia Voravong of the Lafayette Journal Courier. Some quotes:

Two summers ago, nearly 30 Tippecanoe County sex offenders who had victimized children received hand-delivered letters stating that they had to move or else be criminally charged with a Class D felony.

The letters were in response to a statute, passed in 2006, prohibiting such sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, public park or youth program center.

That decision has cost Robert Rawles of Lafayette, a three-time convicted child molester, an estimated $11,000 in motel costs.

"I know the public believes, 'Once a child molester, always a child molester,' " he said. "But I'm not the same person today. ... This law has emotionally and financially drained me."

But under a recent ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court, Rawles and other offenders convicted before the law was enacted on July 1, 2006, could soon return home.

The 5-0 decision found that the residency restriction violated the Indiana Constitution by retroactively punishing Anthony W. Pollard, a Blackford County man who died in December.

Pollard had owned his home for about 10 years when he was convicted in 1997 of a sex offense against a child. In January 2007, he was charged with violating the new residency law.

A Blackford County judge dismissed the charge as unconstitutional, and it was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The state's Supreme Court agreed.

"This is a substantial housing disadvantage," Justice Robert D. Rucker wrote.

"... A sex offender is subject to constant eviction because there is no way for him or her to find a permanent home in that there are no guarantees a school or youth program center will not open within 1,000 feet of any given location."

Here is a list of ILB entries on the Pollard case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 8, 2009 07:04 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions