Court: Sex Offenders Have Right To Challenge State Registry

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit says Indiana does not provide some sex offenders due process to challenge mistakes in the state's registry.

sex offender registry

Photo: Sex And Violent Offender Registry

The sex and violent offender registry provides an online searchable database that lists those who are convicted sex or violent offenders.

A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that Indiana is unconstitutionally denying sex and violent offenders the ability to review and correct mistakes on the state’s registry.

The Department of Corrections allows prisoners to challenge the accuracy of their listing, but those who are not in prison have no way to appeal what they believe to be mistakes in the sex and violent offenders registry.

“The Court found that the only way to guard against stigmatizing errors is to afford minimal due process,” Ken Falk, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said in a statement.

In its opinion, the court points out the state could also benefit from allowing sex and violent offenders who are not incarcerated to challenge the registry.

“Erroneously labeling an offender a sexually violent predator imposes unnecessary monitoring costs on state law enforcement and reduces the efficacy of the registry in providing accurate information to the public,” the court said.

The Indiana Attorney General’s spokesperson Bryan Corbin says the Attorney General is reviewing the case. He says the ruling also comes as the Indiana Legislature is conducting legislative hearings on potential changes to the Indiana Sex Offender Registry as part of a broader discussion with the Department of Corrections and other agencies.

U.S. Court of Appeals Opinion

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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