Sentencing Law & Policy: The messy realities of Ohio's adoption of AWA sex offender registration rules.
daytondailynews.com: Sex offender reclassifications will take months.
A helpful reader altered me to this local article which provides a window into just some of the many messy issues involved in Ohio's on-going effort to get conform its sex offender registration rules to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act. The piece is headlined "Sex offender reclassifications will take months; One case shows how new ruling affects law on registration," and here are some highlights:
George Anderson, a rapist designed a Tier III sex offender, was convicted by a Montgomery County jury for failing to verify his address. On Friday, July 16, the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals voided his conviction, citing the June 3 Ohio Supreme Court decision that eliminated reclassifications under the Adam Walsh Act....
These types of decisions will likely continue during the coming months, said Margie Slagle, staff attorney with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. “Thousands and thousands of petitions were filed across the state,” Slagle said.
Twenty-eight counties were awaiting the Supreme court’s ruling before taking any action on challenges to Walsh. Nine, including Montgomery, issued county-wide stays, according to a brief filed by the Ohio Public Defender.
Anderson was originally classified a “sexually oriented offender,” the lowest designation under the state’s Megan’s Law. He was required to register his place of residence annually for 10 years. Under the Adam Walsh Act, which replaced Megan, he was reclassified as a Tier III offender — the highest level — and required to report every 90 days for the rest of his life....
The high court’s ruling kept the Walsh system for new offenders, but ordered the 26,000 offenders who were reclassified to be returned to the old system and its requirements. “It’s going to make it confusing,” said Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey, who heads the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association’s committee on sexual offender notification.
Under the old system, 77 percent of offenders were in the lowest category and 18 percent were in the highest as “sexual predators.” Under Walsh, the highest category, Tier III, contained 54 percent.
That tripled the workload for sheriff’s offices, with more offenders visiting four times a year instead of annually, Grey said. “That’s less time that we have a deputy out physically looking” to see if offenders live at the addresses they give, Grey said.
Attorney General Richard Cordray, whose office notified all affected offenders in 2008 that their designation had changed, has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. He also has included a request for clarification concerning those offenders who did not have court hearings to determine classification, such as those convicted in other states. Ted Hart, a spokesman for Cordray’s office, said staff was manually going through all records to determine which defendants had court hearings.
“If they did have a hearing, they will be reclassified,” Hart said “If they did not, the cases will remain pending until we receive further clarification from the court.”