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October 1, 2008

Split Ohio Supreme Court upholds retroactive application of sex offender regulations

As detailed in this official press release, the "Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that applying 2003 amendments to ... the state's sex offender registration and reporting law to offenders whose crimes took place before the amendments were adopted does not violate prohibitions in the U.S. and Ohio constitutions against ex post facto or retroactive laws."   

The Ohio Supreme Court decision in State v. Ferguson, No. 2008-Ohio-4824 (Oct. 1, 2008) (available here), split the state Justices 4-3.  The dissent make the notable assertion that amendment to Ohio's sex offender law has changed the constitutional equation:

Although the majority continues to rely on State v. Cook (1998), 83 Ohio St.3d 404, 409, 700 N.E.2d 570, the first case that considered retroactive application of R.C. 2950.09(B), R.C. Chapter 2950 has been amended. The simple registration process and notification procedures are now different [and] R.C. Chapter 2950 has been transformed from remedial to punitive.

October 1, 2008 at 12:07 PM | Permalink


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Sentencing Law and Policy reports that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that amendments to the state's sex offender registration and reporting law apply retroactively and do not violate prohibitions on ex post facto laws. The decision itself (which split [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 1, 2008 10:37:28 PM


The most interesting part of this decision may be that it was 4-3. It was on the 2003 version of the registration requirements. Ohio adopted the Adam Walsh Act, effective Jan. 1, 2008, so the current registration requirements are even more restrictive than before. If three justices thought that the 2003 version had become punitive, is it a stretch to think that the new version might find a fourth vote along those lines?

Posted by: Keith | Oct 2, 2008 9:33:05 AM

True but how long will it take to get a challenge based on the 2008 changes before the Court. Probably after somebody is killed like in Maine and Washington.

Posted by: | Oct 2, 2008 8:59:33 PM

This insanity must stop. Legislation has gone over board and the Supreme Justices are the only ones who can uphold the Constitution.
Please know this is the first website I found when I started researching 'sex offenses'/sex offender' laws in 2006.

Jacquelyn L. Horst
A Mother who is not done being a parent!

Posted by: Jacquelyn Horst | Oct 3, 2008 7:57:09 PM

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