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May 2, 2009

Two notable ex post rulings on sex offender registration from Indiana Supreme Court

As detailed in this local article, headlined "Rulings affect sex offender state registry," the Indiana Supreme Court had two significant rulings this week about ex post facto limitations on the application of sex offender registration rules.  Here are the basics:

A pair of rulings by the Indiana Supreme Court might bring dramatic changes to who is listed on Indiana’s Sex and Violent Offender Registry.

One ruling deals with sex offenders who committed their crimes and were sentenced before the state’s sex offender registry laws existed. The other ruling, involving an Allen County case, deals with whether sex offenders’ listings on the registry are subject to further changes to the registry.

There are 753 people on Allen County’s sex and violent offender registry. In the first ruling, the state’s highest court overturned Richard P. Wallace’s 2000 conviction for failing to register as a sex offender.... Wallace appealed [his conviction} arguing in part that the changes to the registry violated the state’s Constitution by creating an “after the fact” punishment. And the state’s high court agreed.

“Wallace was charged, convicted and served the sentence for his crime before the statutes collectively referred to as the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act were enacted,” Justice Robert D. Rucker wrote....

In the second case, the court upheld a ruling by Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull involving Allen County resident Todd Jensen. Gull had ruled that Jensen must register for life as a sexually violent predator even though the provision in the law that created that designation did not exist when he was convicted....

Jensen appealed, using in part arguments similar to the ones Wallace used, that the requirement created a punishment after the fact. In a split decision, the appellate court agreed and sent the case back to Gull to limit Jensen’s registration requirement to 10 years.

But in a 3-2 decision, the state Supreme Court upheld Gull’s ruling that Jensen should have to register as a sexually violent predator for life.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Wallace can be accessed at this link; its ruling on Jensen can be accessed at this link.

May 2, 2009 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

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