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Justices ready for sex-offender registry issue

January 1, 2008
The Indiana Supreme Court will consider two cases this week asking whether convicted sex offenders can be required to register for life on a statewide database.

The state's highest appeals court will hear a combined argument Thursday in Todd L. Jensen v. State, No. 02A04-0706-CR-351, and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498. Arguments are set to begin at 9:45 a.m. and can be viewed online through a webcast.

Now, Jensen v. State and Wallace v. State have a combined case number of 02S04-0803-CR-137.

The Jensen case comes from Allen Superior Court, where in 2000 Todd L. Jensen pleaded guilty to various child-related crimes and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. But in 2006 - two years after Jensen had been released from probation - Superior Judge Frances Gull determined he should be classified as a sexually violent predator and must register for life on the statewide registry. The Court of Appeals reversed in a December 2007 decision, finding that it violated ex post facto considerations and determining that Jensen should abide by the 10-year registration requirement.

Similar arguments are being raised in Wallace, which hails from Marion County. Richard P. Wallace pleaded guilty in 1989 to an offense against a child, served his sentence, and learned that he would have to register for life as a sex offender.

The Court of Appeals rejected Wallace's arguments and affirmed his conviction in a January ruling, finding that the requirement that he register for life didn't violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws.

This is the third time the justices are considering sex-offender related cases in the past two weeks. Justices heard arguments April 30 in J.C.C. v. State, No. 49A02-0403-JV-266, that asked whether juveniles - a 14-year-old boy in this case - can be placed on the state's sex offender registry for forcing younger boys into various sexual acts.
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