Archive for August 30, 2009

Guide to Ohio’s Sex Offender “SORN” Laws

August 30, 2009 Comments off

Letter from the Ohio Attorney General:

I have attached an updated version of the Guide to Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws (SORN). The original version of this guide was issued last year by my predecessor. The updated guide is substantially identical to the original guide, except with respect to juvenile offender registrants.

Since the original guide was issued, four appellate districts have ruled that a juvenile court has discretion to determine which tier it places juvenile offender registrants. While this is markedly different than the requirements for adult registrants, whose tier classification is determined solely based on the offense for which they are convicted, we believe that the recent appellate decisions correctly interpret the statute with respect to a juvenile court’s discretion. We have made this substantive change on page 26 of the guide, and have attempted to better clarify the differences between the requirements for adult and juvenile registrants on page 23.

I should point out that there are two cases pending before the Ohio Supreme Court which separately address the SORN law with respect to juvenile and adult registrants. We are closely monitoring these and other cases and will continue to evaluate the accuracy of the guide in light of future court decisions.

I hope that you find the guide to be of assistance to you. If the Attorney General’s Office can be of further assistance in applying the SORN laws, please feel free to contact Assistant Attorney General Justin Hykes at or 614.387.4257.

Richard Cordray
Ohio Attorney General
June, 2009
30 East Broad Street, 17th Fl ● Columbus, Ohio 43215 ● PHONE 614.466-4320 ● FAX 614.466-5087

View the Guide to Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws “SORN” ;
2009 Update Following Passage of the Adam Walsh Act

This guide is also posted in text form, its entirety at:

Sex Offender Registration Nightmare

August 30, 2009 Comments off

The following nightmare was sent to by a reader. This is what can happen to a registered ex sex offender who tries to relocated within the state of Ohio, while attempting to satisfy every legal requirement placed upon him.

“This has been a nightmare. My conviction was from Texas in 1995, but I moved back to Ohio after being released. I wasn’t required to register in Texas, but I was once I moved back to Ohio. All was okay until the Adam Walsh Act came about and I filed a petition against reclassification to no avail. Where the problem came in was when I moved from Auglaize County, Ohio to Holmes County, Ohio in June 2008.

As required, I notified Auglaize County on June 2, 2008 that my move was complete. That was when I was told I had to travel over 3 hours back to sign a paper before they could transfer me, but they would give me a couple weeks to do it since I was out of money due to the move. I found out that this was not correct ; the AG office said it was not proper procedure and they offered to do the transfer. Holmes County arrested me the same day. No warning letter, no phone call, or anything else. I had called them to gave my new address and contact info.

Auglaize County admitted at the trial that I was never out of compliance with them and that there was no way for me to appear in the new county until they transferred ownership of my eSORN file.

The AG office says it is wrong, and so does the Department of Justice SMART office, but nobody seems to do anything. Meanwhile I am facing 30 years for failure to change my address, when I was doing all I could to follow the orders given to me.

I need help big time. I have been labeled a monster, but my sex offense was against my spouse during a bitter divorce in Texas. Want to see a real messed up case look at it–my jury was the police officer investigating the case and the court administrator–how’s that for fair? The Judge said I would of had a better trial if I had fully paid my lawyer.”

If any of our readers has the ability to provide assistance to this man, please contact him at:

View documentation of his situation

Update Sept 3, 2009: This man was sentenced today to 3 years in prison with an additional 5 years Post-Release Control (probation)- a true travesty and injustice ! His appeal bond was granted, thankfully.

IN : Supreme Court’s Confusing Trail

August 30, 2009 Comments off (Richmond, IN) : Court’s trail confusing on sex offender rights.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled this summer that an offender who owned his home before a new residential law restricting proximity to a school, public park or youth center could not be forced to move by the law.

The defendant was being charged with behavior after the implementation of the statute, not before.
“In other words,” we said, “he is not charged with owning a home, but continuing to reside in a home in violation of defined space limitations after the law was passed.”

Still there was consistency in the court’s position. The state’s high court only months before had struck down the conviction of a man for failing to register as a sex offender, noting in similar fashion that he had completed his sentence for child molestation before the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act was passed.

So it is that we find more confusion than consistency with the court’s most recent ruling this month letting stand without comment a Plainfield ordinance barring sex offenders from the town’s public parks.

This goes well beyond the narrower residency statute. It bans those who have served criminal sentences and who pay taxes in support of public parks from even setting foot in those parks. And even where their crimes were not committed in those parks.

The defendant in the Plainfield case had completed his sentence and probation when he was told by police while visiting the town’s recreation center with his young son that he could not return.

People who love the law for its fair play should have some issues with this kind of “Scarlet Letter” justice that continues to punish after the proverbial “debt to society” has been paid.

Now, supporters of these arguably overreaching restrictions will argue that it is the high rate of recidivism by sex offenders that targets them for ongoing restrictions to protect the larger society, especially innocent children.

The data on repeat offenses is more confusing than the Indiana Supreme Court’s recent rulings. One can cherry pick what they want to support a particular position. For example, a Justice Department study of 272,111 felons released from prison in 15 states during 1994 found sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be re-arrested for any offense, but that sex offenders were about four times more likely to be arrested for another sex crime after discharge from prison. (The study found that only 5.3 percent of sex offenders were rearrested for another sex crime)

But if the science convincingly supports the need to restrict the right to public property, or residency, or other basic rights for convicted sex offenders, then let that need be reflected in amended criminal codes that extend probationary periods upon conviction. That way, judges can rightfully impose those restrictions on a case-by-case basis within the broad parameters of probation. Those who violate specific terms of probation can be abruptly returned to prison, where they belong.

One thing that should be remembered here is that “sex offender” is itself a rather broad term, incorporating everything from the chronic perverts who prey on young children to, in some states, the 19-year-old youth caught and prosecuted for having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Simply denying fundamental rights to a class of citizens even a class loosely defined by past criminal conduct — under the guise of protecting society probably renders us all a little less free and secure.