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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. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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