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Sex-offender Registration Status Appeals

October 1, 2009

projo.com (Rhode Island) : Sex-offender status appeals.

Rhode Island State law allows convicted sex offenders to appeal the risk level assigned to them by the Sex Offender Board of Review. The two offenders’ lawyers argued the cases Tuesday afternoon before Magistrate Gordon M. Smith. If they are not satisfied with the magistrate’s decision, they can appeal to a Superior Court judge and, if desired, seek Supreme Court review. Until that appeal is settled, the public will not, by law, be notified of the offenders’ residence.

“It’s not a politically correct thing to say, but even convicted sex offenders have rights,” Healey (an Attorney General official) said.

At least one Sex Offender Board of Review member, JoAnne Waite, said any delay in assigning levels during the appeal process keeps an offender in limbo and it could affect where they live and their jobs. “They are trying to start their lives, but in a sense they can’t,” said Waite, who works with sex-offender groups. She said she knows of offenders who have awaited a level for more than a year.

This is one of the primary flaws in the SORNA/ Adam Walsh Act/Ohio Senate Bill 10 : Tier levels are assigned according to the crime of conviction, without a court hearing and without regard to the likelihood of an individual’s risk level. Not only is this unconstitutional (Due Process), but it floods the registries with large numbers of offenders, many of whom are at low risk of re-offending.

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