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Ohio Attorney General Files Motion for Clarification

June 15, 2010 Comments off

The Ohio Attorney General Filed yesterday a Motion for Reconsideration in the Ohio Supreme Court in response to the Bodyke vs, Ohio decision of June 3, 2010.

JOINT MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND/OR CLARIFICATION BY
APPELLEE STATE OF OHIO AND AMICUS CURIAE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL
RICHARD CORDRAY (view PDF file)

INTRODUCTION
In accordance with Supreme Court Practice Rules 11.2 and 14.4, the State of Ohio and the Ohio Attorney General respectfully move this Court for clarification of its June 3; 2010 decision in State v. Bodyke, 2010 Ohio Lexis 1271, 2010-Ohio-2424.

Neither the State nor the Attorney General is asking the Court to reverse its holding that two provisions in the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (“the Walsh Act”), which required the Attorney General to reclassify sex offenders who had been judicially classified under the old Megan’s Law, violate the separation-of-powers doctrine. Id. at ¶¶ 60-61. Rather, the State and the Attorney General seek clarification of the Court’s remedy-specifically, whether the Court facially invalidated R.C. 2950.031 and R.C. 2950.032, and thereby struck the provisions entirely, or whether the Court only invalidated those provisions as applied to sex offenders who had been judicially classified under Megan’s Law.

The Attorney General’s Office is moving quickly (No, they are not) to update the State’s sex-offender registry (e-SORN) to comply with the Bodyke decision. For offenders who received Megan’s Law classifications by court order before the effective date of the Walsh Act, the Office will update e-SORN to reflect the original Megan’s Law classifications and notify these offenders of the reclassification (When? ). Absent clarification from this Court, however, the Attorney General does not know what classifications to input for a significant segment of sex offenders who did not receive a Megan’s Law classification by court order.

All parties-the State and the offenders themselves-will benefit from clarification. Such a pronouncement will ensure that the Attorney General, the county prosecutors, and the county sheriffs properly implement the Court’s directive; it will provide clear notice to individual offenders as to which framework-Megan’s Law or the Walsh Act-applies to them; and it will accord the Bodyke decision the finality this Court intended.

I am told by the Ohio Public Defender’s office that this request for clarification is with regard to those who went to prison before Megan’s Law was effective (so, before July 1, 1997) and were released after Senate Bill 10 went into effect (so, after July 1, 2007). Those people would never have been classified under Megan’s Law, so they didn’t have a prior judicial order classifying them under the Megan’s Law, risk-based system. Since the language in Bodyke talks about prior judicial orders, the AG’s office is asking the Court to clarify how the Bodyke decision should affect this group of people.

To understand this motion, know the following sub-groups discussed in this motion (pages 6-8):

Group A: “Offenders who were sentenced between July 1, 1997 and July 1, 2007. Bodyke unquestionably applies to this first class of offenders. These individuals received a Megan’s Law classification “by court order,” and had their status under Megan’s
Law “adjudicated by a court and made the subject of a final order.” Under Bodyke, this group of offenders may not be reclassified under the Walsh Act. Rather, their Megan’s Law classifications remain in effect.”

Group B: “Offenders who were incarcerated before July 1, 1997, and who were released
before July 1, 2007. These individuals may not have received a formal order from a court specifying their Megan’s Law classification.”

Group C: “C. Offenders who were incarcerated before July 1, 1997, and who were released after July 1, 2007. These are offenders who were incarcerated before July 1, 1997 and therefore did not receive a Megan’s Law classification at the time of sentencing”

Ex Sex Offenders Want Restrictions Lifted

June 15, 2010 Comments off

dispatch.com: Sex offenders want restrictions lifted- Sheriffs not reacting yet to court’s ruling.

Some sex offenders are calling sheriff’s offices and demanding that their pictures and addresses be removed from online listings.

But sheriffs are being told not to alter anything (by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, we are told) while lawyers and prosecutors work to determine the fallout from a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision.

The justices ruled that six tiers of sex offenders sentenced before Jan. 1, 2008, improperly were reclassified into three federally mandated tiers that have tougher reporting and registration requirements.

The court’s mandate to Ohio’s attorney general to reclassify the affected sex offenders means some offenders no longer will need to register or report to sheriff’s offices.

For example, under the state’s Megan’s Law classifications, the lowest-level offenders – sexually oriented and child-victim oriented – were required to register their addresses annually for 10 years.

The adoption of the federal Adam Walsh Act guidelines beginning in 2008 then required many of those same sex criminals to report their addresses for 15 years and to report in-person to a sheriff’s office once a year.

Now, thousands of Ohio’s 26,000 sex offenders will be shifted back to the 10-year registration, meaning an undetermined number no longer will have to register and are to be removed from offender listings.

There currently are about 3,600 sex offenders registered in Franklin and surrounding counties. No sheriffs yet had good guesses on how many will be freed from reporting requirements.

“We’re going to lose some people, and there will be decreased community notification,” said Steve Martin, chief deputy of the Franklin County sheriff’s office. The office has seven employees keeping an eye on 2,591 offenders.

Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen has heard public concern about the coming impact of the court ruling, but he reminded the public that the worst offenders, those classified as sexual predators and child-victim predators, will be unaffected.

Under both Megan’s Law and the Adam Walsh Act, those offenders are under lifetime registration requirements and are required to report in-person to a sheriff’s office every 90 days.

Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, has been fielding calls from sheriffs who say that some sex offenders are citing the court ruling and insisting they be freed from reporting requirements.

Cornwell has advised the sheriffs to do nothing until they hear from their county prosecutors. The attorney general’s office has no estimate of when its reclassification work will be complete and offenders notified.

“I’d rather have the offender mad at the sheriff than the public,” Cornwell said.

This final statement should make every affected registrant very angry. Mr. Cornwell, you should be very afraid of these offenders, as they are the ones who will be filing lawsuits against you and the Ohio Attorney General for failure to comply with the Supreme Court decision.

Contact Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association:
6230 Busch Blvd Suite 260
Columbus, OH 43229
614-431-5500 , Fax 614-431-5665

Contact the Ohio Attorney General Office here:
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, 30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215
(800) 282-0515 ….. or….. 1-866-40-OHLEG (1-866-406-4534)
OHLEGsupport@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
Call Justin Hykes Assistant Attorney General directly at:
614-387-4257

Ohio Attorney General Office Media Contacts:
Kim Kowalski: (614) 728-9692, cell: (614) 893-6018
Ted Hart: Deputy Director of Media Relations
PHONE 614-728-4127, cell: (614) 743-2286
EMAIL ted.hart@ohioattorneygeneral.gov