The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s ex post facto argument and affirmed a trial court’s decision to convict him of committing a sex offender residency offense.
Anthony Mark Sewell was convicted of child molesting as a Class B felony in 2001. After his release in 2007, he was required to register his address with law enforcement. When he moved to a new address in 2011, he was in violation of the state statute that prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a church that has a school, day-care or youth program center.
After the state charged him with one count of residing within 1,000 feet of a youth program center, the trial court found Sewell guilty and sentenced him to 1 ½ years in the Department of Correction with six months suspended to probation.
In his appeal, Sewell argued that applying the statute to him violated the ex post facto prohibition in state and federal constitution. This forbids Congress and the states from imposing a punishment for an act that was not punishable at the time it was committed.
He stated his conviction for child molesting was entered in 2001 for acts that took place in 2000. The application of the statute did not take effect until 2006.
Sewell relied heavily on the Indiana Supreme Court’s opinion in State v. Pollard, 908 N.E.2d 1145 (Ind. 2009). He contended that the decision in Pollard stands for the proposition that anyone convicted of an offense listed in Indiana Code 35-42-4-11 before July 1, 2006, is not subject to its provisions.
The COA found in Anthony Mark Sewell v. State, 73A01-1112-CR-609, that Pollard did not apply because Sewell did not reside or own property within 1,000 feet of the church when he was convicted of child molesting. The court concluded that because Sewell’s residency decision occurred after the enactment of the statute, Sewell’s prosecution does not violate state or federal ex post facto provisions.