ILNews

COA: Sex-offender registration still applies

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's convictions of failing to register as a sex offender, finding his argument "nonsensical" that his duty to register began before the statute was enacted.

In Jesse S. McCown v. State of Indiana, No. 79A05-0710-CR-556, Jesse McCown appealed his two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, a Class D felony.

McCown pleaded guilty in 1987 to child molesting and was sentenced to serve consecutive six- and two-year terms. In 1994, the General Assembly enacted Zachary's Law, which required all convicted sex offenders to register if they had been convicted after the statute was enacted. A later amendment in 2001 required all convicted child molesters to register with local law enforcement.

McCown was in the Department of Correction until November 2001 on a forgery conviction. Upon his release, he provided his address to authorities. Just days later, he was arrested for a parole violation. Upon his release, he provided a different address. McCown was once again in prison in 2005 and provided his address to authorities upon release. Police discovered the address he gave was to an abandoned home.

McCown was charged with two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, failure to possess proper identification, and being a habitual offender. He filed a motion to dismiss the charges, which the trial court denied. He was found guilty on the failure to register counts and was sentenced to an aggregate term of four-and-a-half years, including his half-year sentence for being a habitual offender.

McCown argued that he shouldn't have to register as a sex offender because his 10-year duty is expired. He believed his start date for registration was May 1, 1994, which would mean he would no longer have to register after May 1, 2004. As a result, he shouldn't have been arrested in 2005.

But the Indiana Court of Appeals didn't agree with McCown's argument, finding it to be "nonsensical" because it suggests his 10-year registration period began before the duty to register was even imposed, wrote Judge Carr Darden.

"Simply stated, statutory amendments made effective on July 1, 2001, rendered the registration requirement applicable to McCown," he wrote. "Because McCown was incarcerated in a penal facility on the effective date of the statute, his ten-year duty to register was triggered upon his release therefrom and subsequent placement on probation on November 10, 2001."

The appellate court also remanded for proper enhancement of the habitual-offender charge because as it included in a footnote, "In light of the following holding by our supreme court, the trial court's imposition of a separate sentence on count IV, the habitual offender count, is error."
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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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