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.