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State Sex Offender Registry Differs From Federal Guidelines

Indiana does not require sex offenders who were convicted prior to the creation of the registry in 1994 to register.

Indiana Sex Offender Registry

Photo: Indiana Sex Offender Registry

Indiana's Sex Offender Registry provides a searchable online database.

Three recent cases in Indiana reveal a nuance of the state’s sex offender registry that is different when compared to federal guidelines.

Indiana’s constitution does not require sex offenders who were convicted prior to the creation of the registry in 1994 to register now, because those cases are considered “ex post facto,” or after the fact. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidelines do not consider sex offender convictions ex post facto and say that any offender should be currently registered. It is a policy many other abide by, making Indiana’s guidelines rare.

Attorney Kristin Mulholland defended one case where the offender committed an act in Illinois before the registries were in place, but now lives in Indiana where he has not been required to register.

“Now Illinois passed a law making it so that he would have to register, and under Illinois law, they decided that it’s not ex post facto as to sex offenders having to register,” Mulholland says. “So there’s the difference between the ways Illinois looks at its constitution and the way Indiana looks at its constitution. Indiana provides broader protection its citizens under its constitution.”

While the sex offender registry policy will not be changed in regards to ex post facto cases, Avon State Representative Greg Steuerwald is currently working on legislation requiring offenders to register in each new county they travel to within 72 hours of their arrival.

“These changes are very necessary,” he says. “They’re going to make the registry much more effective. It’s going to enable law enforcement to keep track of offenders better and it’s going to better advise the public in general.”

Steuerwald says a recent study revealed loopholes in the registry that the new law would fix. He plans to introduce his bill when the legislation session convenes next month.

  • Extremely Disgruntled

    Quoting article: “However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidelines do not consider sex
    offender convictions ex post facto and say that any offender should be
    currently registered. It is a policy many other abide by, making
    Indiana’s guidelines rare.”

    The reason for this is that the US version is based on outright lies to the Court in the AZ v Smith case. The majority of States have more protections for their citizens by their own Constitutions than the US Constitution does for them, and the SCOTUS then wants them to have apparently. It won’t be long until another SCOTUS case shows the faults in the Smith case. Ohio, and many other States have now realized that the AWA is punitive and blatantly illegally used by the Legislature to go back for everyone in this class. If any of these laws were passed solely PROspectively, meaning going forward from an effective (future) date, half of these problems and the subsequent Court costs would have been alleviated. Serious case of “Duh, we didn’t thing this one through fully before passing these laws didn’t we? We just wanted to be tough on crime, so these are the most important to voters feelings. So lets just pass them quickly…”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rwsmom-At-Inrsol/100000334513846 Rwsmom At Inrsol

    Placing more restrictions on registrants will only put more financial burdens on the state, the registrants and their families. Studies have shown that the registry has an opposite effect than what it’s intended purpose was intially. Placing more and more restrictions on those who have served their time, only causes higher recidivism rates. If the state would move towards re-entry and education for those released back in to society, Indiana would be better off. We must also remember the children of those who are required to register. Placing more and more stipulations and restrictions causes more financial hardship on the families as a whole. Especially when it’s hard for those registered to even find employment. The registry is saturated enough to where the general public has no clue of who truly is a danger to society. Lawmakers need to think about the 13,000 registrants and their families before they place more restrictions on them.

  • Roger

    The constitution states that no ex post facto law shall be passed! It doesn’t define law as civil or criminal. The word shall in legal lingo is a must do directive and in fact denies the supreme court the right to interpret it’s meaning.

  • Roger

    Most registered sex offenders are innocent. Look up 24 exonerated in Dallas County Texas!

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