Tuesday, July 2, 2013

IN - Supreme Court sets process for putting children on sex offender registry

Juvenile Sex Offenders
Original Article


By Dan Carden

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday clarified the process juvenile court judges must follow before a child who commits a sex crime can be added to the state's sex offender registry.

In a 5-0 decision (PDF), the state's high court said prior to registry placement juvenile court judges must hold a formal fact-finding hearing and expressly determine there is clear and convincing evidence a juvenile sex offender is likely to re-offend.

At that hearing, the juvenile must have the opportunity to be represented by counsel, the ability to challenge the prosecutor's evidence and present his or her own, wrote Justice Loretta Rush, a former Lafayette juvenile court judge. Any continuation of the initial hearing must meet the same requirements.

Unlike adult sex offenders, who are automatically required to register following conviction — in part to permit community condemnation of the offender, the process must be different for juveniles because rehabilitation is the purpose of the juvenile system.
- We thought rehabilitation was the purpose of prisons as well?  Guess not!

"For children, the effect of registration is particularly harsh because while some juvenile court records are confidential, registration reveals their delinquent acts to the world and exposes them to the profound humiliation and community-wide ostracism that registration entails," Rush wrote.
- The same applies to adults as well.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals and ordered a Bedford-area child removed from the sex offender registry until a Lawrence County judge holds the now-required fact-finding hearing.

That case involved a 16-year-old boy using the game Truth or Dare to entice a 9-year-old boy to engage in fondling and other sex acts. Following treatment, the boy was rated as having a 4 to 6 percent risk of sexual recidivism, according to court records.

1 comment :

Loneranger said...

It's true the registry does all the things described. the registry has been around for decades now and the damage it does isn't just to juveniles it's to everyone even remotely connected to it. Somehow they can't see this as cruel and unusual punishment for adults as well. the reality of this is the youthful offenders do reach the age of majority and are the same as any other adult on the registry as the stigma that lasts a lifetime is the same. If this is cruel and unusual punishment for one group it is for all. Have they gone to far and now want to somehow save face by suggesting this is much to cruel for juveniles and this was just a mistake that needs fixed? It is a known fact that registries are punitive and cruel and unusual punishment but the supreme court ruled they were not as long as they were only regulatory. The precedence set years ago when this might have by the broadest of views been regulatory does not apply and unless the judges are willing to turn a blind eye to the constitution it should be abolished. I have listened to several cases presented to various courts that have ruled years ago this to be constitutional. The state presents only half truths and then tries to push this past the judges. In some cases they can't keep the rhetoric going and the judge sees through it. Lately as the judges become more educated on the subject they start to see that this is not just a regulatory situation but is much more as the addition of new restrictions creates a situation akin to probation or parole that is historically punitive punishment. If they had left this purely someone giving updated information as to their address it would be regulatory. However this is not the case. They have gone past the already stretched line and now it's time the courts put a stop to this.