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COA affirms sex offender’s removal from registry

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A man convicted of rape in Pennsylvania in 1993 is not required to register as a sex offender in Indiana, the Court of Appeals affirmed Monday.

The court applied the Indiana Supreme Court’s 2009 Wallace v. State opinion in upholding a Porter Superior judge’s ruling in State of Indiana v. Terry J. Hough, 64A05-1203-MI-113. The trial court held that because Terry Hough’s conviction predated the establishment of the registries in Pennsylvania and Indiana, requiring him to register would be a violation of ex post facto laws.

Hough was ordered to serve two to five years in prison, and during his incarceration in 1996, Pennsylvania established its registry. On his release, he was told that he didn’t have to register in that state because he was moving to Indiana. He was told he would have to register in Indiana, which he did.

The state argued that Hough should be required to register because under the current sex offender statute he would be required to register for life as an offender. But the court noted a similar recent case, Burton v. State, 45A03-1201-CR-6 (Nov. 8, 2012 Ind. Ct. App. 2012), was decided on similar ex post facto grounds.

“As a resident of Indiana since 1998, Hough is entitled to the protections afforded to him by the Indiana Constitution. Therefore, even though he would be required to register as a sex offender under Pennsylvania’s laws, Indiana’s law controls,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court. “Because he was convicted of a sex offense before Indiana enacted (the registry), requiring Hough to register as a sex offender would violate Indiana’s constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.”

Left unsettled, though, is an offender’s obligation to register under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which the state has argued applies to offenders regardless of the date of their crime. The same argument was posited in Andrews v. State, 29A02-1112-MI-1166 (Nov. 21, 2012 Ind. Ct. App. 2012).

The court in Hough’s case cited the COA’s opinion in Andrews: “While Andrews may have a federal duty to register under USSORNA if he engages in interstate travel, and could be subject to prosecution in federal district court under 18 U.S.C. § 2250, if he fails to do so, this is not the issue before us.”

 

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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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