Archive for November 12, 2009

When Will Ohio Supreme Court Rule on AWA?

November 12, 2009 Comments off

ConstitutionalFights spoke with the Ohio Supreme Court, Clerk of Courts this week.
We asked when the Ohio Supreme Court might be expected to release their decision on Ohio Senate Bill 10
(Adam Walsh Act/SORNA). We were told that typically a ruling is made between 4-6 months after oral arguments, which were heard on Nov. 4, 2009.

Thank you: we thank all those who sent letters to the Court. We heard from a large number of those who sent letters.

Download Audio MP3: If you do not have time to watch the videos of the hearings, we have extracted the audio for you in MP3 format so you can listen in your car or on the run. Click here to download:

DE: Sex Offenders Can be Removed from Registry

November 12, 2009 Comments off : Sex Offender Registry – Court says Minner pardon restored all of man’s civil rights.

For the second time this year, the Delaware Supreme Court has found that a person legally can be removed from the state’s sex offender registry — implicitly finding that the registry is not a permanent life sentence without exception and that the registry statute does not overpower all other state laws.

In this latest case, the justices ruled that a full and unconditional pardon by former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner of a man convicted at 19 of having consensual sex with a girl who was under 16, meant he no longer had to register as a Tier II sex offender.

The ruling was praised by the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union as a needed exception to the registry, but victim advocate Dana Harrington Conner expressed concern about the creation of another way off the state’s list of sex offenders.

While the Delaware Attorney General’s Office opposed removing Brian Heath from the offender registry, it signaled this week that it accepted the high court’s decision and that Heath’s removal did not threaten public safety.

Heath completed his probation, fulfilled his registration requirements and stayed out of trouble.
Oberly said Heath, who has since been married and has a child, could not obtain gainful employment and even had difficulty renting an apartment because he was listed on the sex offender registry.

“You would be better off being convicted of manslaughter than a sex offense to obtain a job [today],” Oberly said, adding that the job Heath was having trouble landing because of his status was as a truck driver.
Heath petitioned then-Gov. Minner for a pardon, which was granted in October 2008.

Lee County Sex Offender Law Being Challenged

November 12, 2009 Comments off (FLA.):Attorney says Lee County sex offender law is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, a Lee County judge will hear arguments about whether Lee County’s “Child Safety Zone” ordinance is unconstitutional. Attorney Peter Aiken says the law is far too broad to be fair.

“I’m a grandfather in this community. I have two little grandkids,” Aiken said. “I don’t have a problem in the world with real laws, with real penalties.” But Aiken says the “Child Safety Zone” law makes it too difficult to understand where offenders can and can’t be. “The problem with a law like this, which I call a feel-good law, is it makes the public feel good and feel safe, but it doesn’t do anything,” Aiken said.

Aiken represents 57-year-old Joseph Comfort, the first person arrested under the ordinance, after visiting a Lehigh Acres swimming pool in July. The law orders offenders to stay 300 feet from areas “where children congregate” like schools, parks, and beaches; but Aiken says the language is so vague, offenders don’t know where they can be legally.

“If you read this ordinance technically, you can’t go to McDonald’s, because McDonald’s has the playground out front.”

Aiken says Florida law lumps all sex offenders together in one category, whether the past crime involved a child or not. “This law deals with anybody that’s been convicted of a sex offense and has been labeled a sex offender, regardless of how long ago, regardless of the conduct,” Aiken said.

Aiken says Comfort’s crime nearly 20 years ago didn’t involve a child; yet the attorney says this ordinance is like punishing his client for life. “A lot of these people are living clean, productive lives, with children, with families. It’s not fair,” Aiken said. “It is absolutely, 100-percent, not fair.”

Aiken says sex offenders are already subject to tough laws and regular visits by deputies.

Read the full ordinance here: