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Man can be charged for failing to register in 2 counties

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender in Vanderburgh County, ruling that a man can be charged in that county even though he pleaded guilty to failing to register in a different county based on the same move.

Willie Montgomery was convicted of sexual battery and is required to register as a sex offender. When Indiana State Police went to his Pike County home to ensure his registered address was correct, police learned from his parents that Montgomery moved to Vanderburgh County to live with his girlfriend.

Police confirmed he moved to Vanderburgh County and did not update his address with either county as is required by statute. Within two days, he was charged with failing to register in both counties; Montgomery pleaded guilty in Pike County. He then filed a motion to dismiss the charge in Vanderburgh County, alleging it is barred based on his plea agreement and double jeopardy principles.

This issue came before the Court of Appeals on interlocutory appeal in Willie L. Montgomery v. State of Indiana, 82A05-1401-CR-34.

“Montgomery argues that there is a single duty for a sex offender to register with the appropriate law enforcement officials when moving and asserts that he can be guilty of only one offense. However, Montgomery’s interpretation does not comport with our reading of Indiana Code section 11-8-8-17(a),” Judge John Baker wrote. “There are two duties here, one for a sex offender to reside at his registered address in Pike County and one to register as a sex offender in Vanderburgh County. Montgomery is guilty of two divisible offenses. Therefore, he could fulfill or omit one duty without fulfilling or omitting the other. As such, we cannot find that Montgomery was charged twice with the same offense for the same act. Rather, we conclude that he was properly charged twice for two separate offenses.”

The judges also found that Montgomery’s charge in Vanderburgh County does not violate double jeopardy principles. He was charged with two counts of failing to register under I.C. 11-8-8-17(a), and different evidence would be required to prove each charge because the charges were the result of two divisible omissions. 

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  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

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