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COA: Sex offender registration statute not unconstitutional

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a man who was convicted of violating requirements of the Indiana sex offender registry statute failed to show evidence of ex post facto law.

In 2011, a trial court found David Healey guilty of thee counts of Class C felony failure to register as a sex offender and sentenced him to the maximum eight years for each offense. He was found guilty of a fourth charge of using a social media website that allowed people under age 18 to register, receiving an additional year’s sentence for that offense, with all sentences to be served concurrently for a total executed sentence of eight years.

In David S. Healey v. State of Indiana, No. 02A04-1110-CR-537, Healey argued that because he originally pleaded guilty to Class C felony child molesting on July 7, 1995, based on an offense that occurred in 1994, the amendment to Indiana’s Sex Offender Registration Act in 1995 does not apply to him. The amendment requires sex offenders to register on the SORA for 10 years after the date the offender was released from prison, placed on parole or placed on probation, whichever occurred last.

The COA held that the 10-year requirement is not intended to be punitive and that Healey failed to prove that the regulatory scheme that changed with the 1995 amendment is punitive.

In arguing that his sentence was inappropriate, Healey said the court failed to consider as mitigators his character, his ability to benefit from a shorter sentence and his substance abuse problems. But the COA held that Healey’s long criminal record – including committing additional offenses almost immediately after being released from incarceration – does not show that short terms of imprisonment have reduced his tendency to commit crimes. It also held that no evidence suggests Healey committed the SORA offenses because he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The COA also disagreed with Healey’s claim that he had accepted responsibility for his actions. “In the present case, Healey did not plead guilty to violating SORA, but merely admitted that he committed acts that would be in violation of SORA if he were subject to its registration requirement. In fact, he argued – and argues still – that he should not be subject to its provisions and thus should suffer no consequences,” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote in the opinion.

The appellate panel affirmed the trial court, but remanded for correction of technical error found in the record.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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