delawareonline.com : Sex Offender Registry - Court says Minner pardon restored all of man's civil rights.
For the second time this year, the Delaware Supreme Court has found that a person legally can be removed from the state's sex offender registry -- implicitly finding that the registry is not a permanent life sentence without exception and that the registry statute does not overpower all other state laws.
In this latest case, the justices ruled that a full and unconditional pardon by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner of a man convicted at 19 of having consensual sex with a girl who was under 16, meant he no longer had to register as a Tier II sex offender.
The ruling was praised by the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union as a needed exception to the registry, but victim advocate Dana Harrington Conner expressed concern about the creation of another way off the state's list of sex offenders.
While the Delaware Attorney General's Office opposed removing Brian Heath from the offender registry, it signaled this week that it accepted the high court's decision and that Heath's removal did not threaten public safety.
Heath completed his probation, fulfilled his registration requirements and stayed out of trouble.
Oberly said Heath, who has since been married and has a child, could not obtain gainful employment and even had difficulty renting an apartment because he was listed on the sex offender registry.
"You would be better off being convicted of manslaughter than a sex offense to obtain a job [today]," Oberly said, adding that the job Heath was having trouble landing because of his status was as a truck driver.
Heath petitioned then-Gov. Minner for a pardon, which was granted in October 2008.