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7th Circuit to DOC: Sex offender registry error safeguards insufficient

August 28, 2012

Indiana’s Sex and Violent Offender Registry provides insufficient means for those whose information is incorrect to challenge the information, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

“We agree with the plaintiffs that the state judicial postdeprivation remedies cited by the DOC are insufficient to meet the requirements of due process,” Judge Diane Wood wrote for the unanimous panel in David Schepers, et al. v. Commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction, 11-3834.

The 7th Circuit noted that after David Schepers and a class brought suit, the DOC established a policy whereby prisoners received notice so that they could challenge information in their pending registry listing.

“The district court granted summary judgment on the ground that the new policy was sufficient to comply with due process. But the DOC’s new procedures still fail to provide any process at all for an entire class of registrants — those who are not incarcerated. We thus reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment and remand for further proceedings,” Wood wrote.

We conclude with the observation that providing additional procedures to correct registry errors may wind up benefitting the state as well as registrants. Erroneously labeling an offender a sexually violent predator imposes unnecessary monitoring costs on state law enforcement and reduces the efficacy of the registry in providing accurate information to the public,” the court ruled.

 

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