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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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