Friday, October 03, 2008

Ohio Supreme Court upholds expanded "Megan's Law" guidelines

The Ohio Supreme Court has again upheld retroactive applications of the state’s amended sex offender reporting & notification rules this past Wednesday. ( Article )

Originally passed in 1996, Ohio’s sex offender registration & notification law was amended in 2003 and again twice last year in pertinent parts. ( See SB 10 and 97 )

SORN has been challenged several times as to its retroactivism. In 1998 the Court in State v. Cook, held that “the registration & community notification requirements enacted in 1996 were not constitutionally barred as ex post facto provisions because their primary intent and effect was not to impose additional ‘punishment’ on prior offenders, but rather to protect the community from possible future sex crimes.” Earlier this year, though, respective of its residency restrictions, the Court in Hyle v. Porter held that because the statute barring sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school does not expressly state that its provisions are retroactive, it doesn’t apply to an individual who had owned his home and committed his crime before the law took effect.” Hyle, by the way, was a certified conflict case between the First and Second District courts of appeal. Appellant in Wednesday’s case had initially made the same challenge, which were conceded to during oral arguments.

In Wednesday’s case the Court recognized that the statutes had been amended, and notably said its review didn’t address changes made by SB 10. However, it “found it significant” that while it “recognized that SB 5 had altered some sections of Revised Code Chapter 2950, none of those amendments suggested that the legislature didn’t agree with its ruling in Cook. In amending the statute, the General Assembly did not insert language that limited retrospective application of the provisions there upheld.” ( Holding )( Court’s summary )

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