ILNews

COA: Sex-offender registration still applies

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's convictions of failing to register as a sex offender, finding his argument "nonsensical" that his duty to register began before the statute was enacted.

In Jesse S. McCown v. State of Indiana, No. 79A05-0710-CR-556, Jesse McCown appealed his two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, a Class D felony.

McCown pleaded guilty in 1987 to child molesting and was sentenced to serve consecutive six- and two-year terms. In 1994, the General Assembly enacted Zachary's Law, which required all convicted sex offenders to register if they had been convicted after the statute was enacted. A later amendment in 2001 required all convicted child molesters to register with local law enforcement.

McCown was in the Department of Correction until November 2001 on a forgery conviction. Upon his release, he provided his address to authorities. Just days later, he was arrested for a parole violation. Upon his release, he provided a different address. McCown was once again in prison in 2005 and provided his address to authorities upon release. Police discovered the address he gave was to an abandoned home.

McCown was charged with two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, failure to possess proper identification, and being a habitual offender. He filed a motion to dismiss the charges, which the trial court denied. He was found guilty on the failure to register counts and was sentenced to an aggregate term of four-and-a-half years, including his half-year sentence for being a habitual offender.

McCown argued that he shouldn't have to register as a sex offender because his 10-year duty is expired. He believed his start date for registration was May 1, 1994, which would mean he would no longer have to register after May 1, 2004. As a result, he shouldn't have been arrested in 2005.

But the Indiana Court of Appeals didn't agree with McCown's argument, finding it to be "nonsensical" because it suggests his 10-year registration period began before the duty to register was even imposed, wrote Judge Carr Darden.

"Simply stated, statutory amendments made effective on July 1, 2001, rendered the registration requirement applicable to McCown," he wrote. "Because McCown was incarcerated in a penal facility on the effective date of the statute, his ten-year duty to register was triggered upon his release therefrom and subsequent placement on probation on November 10, 2001."

The appellate court also remanded for proper enhancement of the habitual-offender charge because as it included in a footnote, "In light of the following holding by our supreme court, the trial court's imposition of a separate sentence on count IV, the habitual offender count, is error."
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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