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. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  2. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.

  3. maybe if some of the socia workers would treat the foster parents better, they would continue to fostr.

  4. We have been asked to take in a 2 no old baby because mother is in very unstable situation. We want to do this but will need help with expenses such as medical and formula... Do we have to have custody thru court?

  5. Very troubling. A competent public defender is very much the right of every indigent person in the US or the Fifth amendment becomes meaningless. And considering more and more of us are becoming poorer and poorer under this "system," the need for this are greater than ever.... maybe they should study the Federals and see how they manage their program? And here's to thanking all the PD attorneys out there who do a good job.