Friday, June 6, 2008

SC Court Rules on Retroactive Sex Offender Law

A South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled on June 5, 2008 that the application of the state's amended sex offender registry law was retroactive in this case:

"Prior to 1996, S.C. Code §§ 23-3-430 and 23-3-460 required any person convicted of indecent exposure to register annually as a sex offender. In 1996, the statute was amended to include a person convicted of indecent exposure only “if the court makes a specific finding on the record based on the circumstances of the case the convicted person should register as a sex offender.”

Wiesart appeals the trial court’s ruling that S.C. Code Ann. §23-3-430(14) (Supp. 2007) is not retroactive. We reverse.

Statutes that are remedial or procedural in nature, however, operate retroactively. A statute is remedial and applies retroactively when it creates new remedies for existing rights or enlarges rights of persons under disability.

Wiesart argues the amendment to § 23-3-430 is retroactive because it is procedural or remedial in nature. We agree.""