Man not required to register in Indiana for Illinois crime

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled it’s a violation of the ex post facto provision of the state’s constitution to require a man who committed a sex crime in Illinois, but now lives in Indiana, to register in Indiana because the laws requiring him to register in both states were enacted after he committed the crime in Illinois.

Jerome Michael Burton appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss the charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Burton was convicted in 1987 in Illinois of a sex crime; Illinois didn’t require people who committed the same crime as Burton to register until 1996. In Illinois, he was convicted in 2003 and 2007 for sex offender registration violations, and when he moved to Indiana, he was convicted here for failure to register pursuant to the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act. Indiana’s version of SORA that requires Burton to register became effective in 2006.

Burton again failed to register in 2011 and sought to dismiss the Class C felony failure to register charges the state filed, arguing that the requirement he register violates the ex post facto provision of the Indiana Constitution. The trial court denied the motion, but on interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed.

The judges found Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009), applies to this case. Burton has the protection of the Indiana Constitution as the application of Indiana’s SORA, without regard to the fact he was convicted of the qualifying sex offense in Illinois.

“It is for us, not Illinois, to determine who is required to register under our SORA,” Senior Judge James Sharpnack wrote in Jerome Michael Burton v. State of Indiana

The judges rejected the state’s argument that Burton’s obligation to register in Indiana stems from his 2007 conviction for failure to register in Illinois. But Burton’s current registration requirement in Illinois is based on the 1987 conviction, and but for that conviction, he would not be subject to any registration requirement, Sharpnack continued.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause is not implicated here, as the state argued, and the judges also rejected the state’s claim that Indiana would become a “haven” for offenders like Burton if he is not required to register.

“Any haven would be only for those who, under our constitution, could not be compelled to register in violation of our state’s prohibition of ex post facto laws,” he wrote. “We are dealing only with those offenders who committed crimes in states which had no registration requirements at the time of the offenses. The concern of the State does not outweigh the value of enforcing our constitution in the application of our registration statute.”

The Court of Appeals ordered the trial court grant Burton’s motion to dismiss.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues