Sex offender registration requirement reversed for voyeurism conviction

A man convicted of voyeurism won’t have to register as a sex offender, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, concluding the man was not convicted of a crime requiring that he do so.

Marty Straw was convicted of Level 6 felony voyeurism after putting a recording camera in his teenage daughter’s bathroom before she took a shower and under her bedroom door while she was changing clothes.

Straw was sentenced to two years and 60 days, with his two years suspended to probation, and was ordered to comply with the standard conditions of probation, as well as a probation addendum order requiring him to register as a sex offender. The order also required that Straw complete an electronic monitoring supervisory period; attend, participate in and successfully complete a sexual perpetrator treatment program; not reside within 100 feet of school property; not possess obscene matter or child pornography; and not use a social networking site or chat room to communicate with a child less than 16 years old.

Agreeing with Straw’s opposition to the sex offender registry requirement, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the Allen Superior Court abused its discretion in that regard because voyeurism is not listed as an offense requiring sex offender registration under Indiana Code § 11-8-8-4.5.

“Nor was Straw convicted of any of the offenses enumerated in the statute,” Judge Rudy Pyle wrote. “When the legislature defines a word, the courts are bound by that definition.

“…Here, the legislature did not include a person convicted of voyeurism in its definition of sex offender. It could have easily done so but chose not to do so. A trial court is without authority to order a person who has not been convicted of one of the offenses set forth in the statute to register as a sex offender,” Pyle concluded.

The panel therefore reversed and remanded the requirement for Straw to register as a sex offender in Marty V. Straw v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-934.

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