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Appeals court denies man’s request to be removed from sex offender registry

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Using the “intents-effects” test, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that the additional registration requirements imposed on a man on the sex offender registry after a 2006 change in the law do not amount to an impermissible ex post facto violation.

Kenneth Seales pleaded guilty in October 1998 to Class B felony child molesting for an offense that occurred in 1996. When he committed the offense, he was required to register for 10 years on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. In 2011, he filed a motion to determine if he still had to register and to be removed from the registry.

He argued the 2006 change in the law that required he now register for life is an impermissible ex post facto law. The trial court denied his motion, finding he must continue to register as a sexually violent predator for life based on I.C. 11-8-8-19.

The Court of Appeals found Seales’ case to be very similar to Gonzalez v. State, 980 N.E.2d 312, 319 (Ind. 2013). But instead of finding the lifetime registration to be punitive, as it did in Gonzalez, the COA ruled that the lifetime registration was not an ex post facto law regarding Seales.

In Kenneth Seales v. State of Indiana, 71A03-1306-CR-218, the court considered seven factors to determine whether the effects of the Act, as applied to Seales, are so punitive in nature as to amount to a criminal penalty.

“The Gonzalez facts are similar in most respects to those in the case before us. However, because of one significant distinction, we cannot reach the same result,” Judge Melissa May wrote, pointing to the seventh factor: whether the statute appears excessive in relation to the alternative purpose assigned.

“Gonzales, unlike … Seales, was not a sexually violent predator. He never had a hearing to determine his status as a sexually violent predator, nor had he committed a qualifying offense. Rather, his lifetime registration requirement arose under a different statute due to the nature of his offense and the fact that, when committed, Gonzales was at least eighteen years old and the victim less than twelve years old,” May wrote. Because Gonzales was not a sexually violent predator, he “had no available channel through which he could petition the trial court for review of his future dangerousness or complete rehabilitation.”

“As Seales … has available to him avenues of relief related to his future dangerousness ‘in relation to the alternative purpose assigned, protection of the public,’ we find the seventh factor weighs in favor of treating the lifetime registration requirement as non-punitive, and we therefore cannot say it was error for the trial court to deny Seales’ petition to be removed from the sex offender registry,” May wrote.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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