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Lawmakers Working To Close Gap In Sex Offender Registry

A proposal approved by a summer study committee would establish a timetable for offenders to petition a judge to be removed from the registry.

House

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

Lawmakers may vote on the bill during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

State lawmakers are attempting to close gaps in Indiana’s sex offender registry while at the same time making the registry more constitutionally sound.

The Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy committee’s work on the sex offender registry was prompted, in part, by a case in which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the registry unconstitutional because it doesn not provide some offenders ways to correct errors in the registry.

A proposal approved by the committee Thursday would establish a timetable for offender, typically ten years after release, to petition a judge to be removed from the registry.

But committee chair Greg Steuerwald says it isn’t just a rubber stamp process.

“It appears to be not very often done in the first place and secondly, a pretty heavy burden to convince the court to get them removed,” he says.

The proposal would also spell out specific requirements for when, where and how a sex offender must register when moving — something Indianapolis Democratic Representative Ed DeLaney says has been lacking from the law.

“You’ve got 72 hours to either get it done or to report that you didn’t get it done,” he says. “So you have to be registered somewhere. You can’t set yourself adrift.”

The proposal is the committee’s recommendation to the full General Assembly, which can act on it when the legislative session begins in January.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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