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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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