Following a March 1983 incident in which he violently assaulted a neighbor, Buss pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and one count of assault in the second degree, in satisfaction of all charges. He was sentenced to 2 to 6 years' imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently. [11 N.Y.3d 556] In February 1987, while on parole supervision, Buss attacked and stabbed an acquaintance in her home. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the second degree, in full satisfaction of an indictment that included first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy counts. He was sentenced, as a second violent felony offender, to 10 to 20 years' imprisonment.
When Buss was released in 2002, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders (the Board) determined that he was required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), citing his 1983 sexual abuse conviction. The Board calculated a total risk assessment score of 80 points, on the basis of the 1983 incident, making Buss presumptively a level two (moderate risk) offender (see Correction Law § 168-l ). The Board however recommended an upward departure to level three (high risk), because of "the brutal sexual and physical assault" Buss committed in 1987. Buss filed an objection to the Board's recommended SORA assessment level, arguing, among other things, that SORA does not apply to him because his sentence for the sexual abuse conviction "was due to expire" before SORA became effective in 1996.
County Court rejected that argument and designated Buss a level three sex offender. The court agreed with the Board's level three recommendation, based on two overrides, "offender inflicted serious physical injury or caused death" and "offender has made a recent threat that he will reoffend by committing a sexual or violent crime." (Sex Offender Registration Act: Risk Assessment Guidelines and Commentary, Overrides 2, 3 [Nov. 1997].)