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Justices find man not required to register for life as sex offender

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The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that based on the facts of a Lake County man’s case, a 2006 amendment requiring him to register for life as a sex offender violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution. The amendment took effect after Andre Gonzalez fully served his sentence and during the 10-year period of his required registration.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty in 1997 to Class D felony child solicitation and was discharged from probation in 1999. While still required to register for 10 years based on the law in effect at the time of his discharge, the Legislature amended the Sex Offender Registration Act to require certain offenses to register for life, including child solicitation. Gonzalez petitioned to remove his sex offender designation, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals reversed and the Supreme Court agreed that Gonzalez should not be required to register for life.

The justices applied the seven Mendoza-Martinez factors to determine whether the retroactive imposition of the lifetime registration period violates the Ex Post Facto Clause as applied to him. Weighing the punitive and non-punitive nature of the seven factors to Gonzalez’s case – finding four of the factors to be punitive – the justices held that applying the 2006 amendment to him violates the clause.

“In the present case, the defendant, Gonzalez, as a non-SVP, may not predicate his request for relief on the grounds that he has been rehabilitated and presents no risk to the public. And the trial court has refused to grant a hearing despite his repeated attempts to seek the trial court's review of his claim of ex post facto punishment,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote. “Thus, as to this defendant, we find that the retroactive imposition of a lifetime registration requirement appears excessive in relation to the purpose of protecting the public from repeat sexual crime offenders.”

The high court reversed the denial of Gonzalez’s petition to remove the lifetime registration requirement and remanded the case, Andre Gonzalez v. State of Indiana, 45S03-1206-CR-307, for further proceedings. Justice Robert Rucker concurred in result without a separate opinion.

 

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  • It's about time!
    I am so glad to see that the justices are realizing these laws ARE punitive and a violation to the ex post facto laws! Congrats to Mr. Gonzalez! I'm sure you will rest a lot easier tonight! Your family will as well, I'm sure!

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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