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Illinois appeals court finds sex offender registration requirement too harsh

By Scott . . . For the second time this year, an Illinois state appellate court has overturned sex offender registration conditions placed on a defendant. The unanimous decision was issued by a panel of Illinois’ 3rd District Appellate Court on 8/20/18.

The court found that Illinois’ Sex Offender Registration Act and related restrictions, as applied to Devin M. Kochevar, violated both the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution.

Kochevar and his alleged victim knew each other for several years. They were both on the track team at the same high school. When Kochevar turned 18 the relationship became sexual; her parents called the police when they found out about it.

In February 2018, the panel in People v. Tetter, 2018 IL App (3d) 150243 (a different case) wrote that, given the circumstances of that case, the lifetime sex offender statutes were “grossly disproportionate to his crime.” In that case, Tetter was convicted of criminal sexual abuse when, at age 21, he was involved in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Kochevar in his appeal argued that the court should consider the Tetter decision when weighing in on his case.

The panel in the Kochevar case wrote that given the sentence imposed and the misdemeanor charge Kochevar was convicted of, “… the pervasive negative impact of the SORA [Sex Offender Registration Act] regulations is genuinely shocking in this case.”  The panel agreed with Tetter’s conclusion that sex offender registration requirements have turned into something punitive. The court went on to write, “We find nothing in his personal record or in the record on appeal that suggests that the rigid technical structure of the sex offender statutes are necessary to restrain instincts or predilections to prey on children that Kochevar gives no evidence of having now or ever having had. The imposition of the restrictions is punitive, and because it is unnecessary in order to secure Kochevar’s compliance with the statutes’ expressed purpose of preventing abuse of children, it is grossly disproportionate to his crime and violates the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution.”

In its decision the court vacated Kochevar’s requirement to register as a sex offender or to comply with any restrictions that Illinois imposes on sex offenders who have been convicted of an offense against a minor.

Judge McDade wrote “This system that the legislature has devised affirmatively obstructs the [s]tate’s constitutional objective of restoring this particular offender to useful citizenship in violation of the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution.”

The oral arguments may be heard here.

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scott

Scott is on the board of NAROL's Illinois affiliate organization Illinois Voices. Their organization is very active in the work to remove the sex offender registry and its unreasonable restrictions on the lives of registrants.

This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Anthony 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #45503 Reply

    Chirs

    Congratulations to him, I dont live in Illinois but what about the rest of us that it effects and is still punitive too. I am happy for all the people who are winning their cases around the country but it only applies to the them. When will something be done that applies to all of us on the registry. When will it be unconstitutional for all of us if ever. Also If something is found the above in my state how would I get it to apply to me if it only applies to the person who filed the lawsuit. Do I have to file one too? Why is punitive and Unconstitutional for a hand full of people in a couple states but not for everyone else? Just Sayin!

    • #45648 Reply

      Tim

      A horse with no legs.

  • #45501 Reply

    Old offender

    Progress. Maybe we will eventually get reasonable and treat sex offenses proportional to all other crimes.

  • #45524 Reply

    Anthony

    The registration should never be applied to any sex offender conviction that predates the enactment of the statute across the country because it is punitive and does not protect children. CHILD KILLING IS OK AND NO REGISTRATION, REALLY!

    • #45528 Reply

      d

      LOL! You make a good point you can kill a child and after your time is served nobody cares were you live but have child porn, expose yourself or have sexual contact with a child and you are marked for life.

  • #45534 Reply

    Saddles

    While everybody has pitfalls in life this ia a bit of good news for all. Its about time someone in Government wakes up. Now NARSOL does present the good and the bad of the registry news about these sex offender ordeals, and also at the same times gives moral understanding to those that follow these articles via internet and those that give comments and feedback. Yes the real action happens in court hearings in front of an audience.

    We all can talk about due process but when one is swayed into a plea dea or bargain with these sex ordeals, that is not true justice. I wonder what is set in stone today. We could even use some principals from George Washington these days. While I like so many others will agree that these restrictions are a bit overbearing and punitive in themself It is time we all stand up for folks in America that are on these registries from these precarious ordeals.

    The article that is posted is good in a way for those people wrapped up in various types of sexual encounters. While I listened to the argument even I was a bit confused at times but like they say all’s well that ends well. And yes their are certain or perticular cases for appeal but one has to know what they are doing or getting into before the appeal and have a very good defense.

    NARSOL is helping and we do have to appreciate all efforts from these organizations. Like it was said before on here before NARSOL doesnt’ just take any case. While NARSOL gives insight to those involved in these matters, help, and guidance, in the end its all about true justice whether one wants to use Christian principals or not. I will have to agree with the article as it is posted for that state. In the end a lot of this unjust sex registration stuff is wrong even the internet types of entanglements. I just wonder who’s ordained to do true justice today with so many other things happening in America.

  • #45647 Reply

    Misdemeanor offender

    I would like to see some federal lawsuits to remove and dismantle the National Sex Offender Registry and the caboose of acts that are attached to it.

    A significant issue that I discovered is that states law differ significantly. In fact, a misdemeanor in Georgia could be a felony in California. What is perverse about these laws in how the federal registry mandates are that if a person is removed from a state registry, they are still on a federal registry for life. It doesn’t go away – ever. An individual removed from a Georgia offender registry will still have to re-register if they move to let’s say Texas for a better job. The federal database alerts Texas that an individual convicted of a sex offense in Georgia, but no longer on the registry, moved to Texas. It is insanity at its finest because of the national registry standards.

    While I am pleased that Illinois courts are revisiting specific laws and conditions. It is only a matter of time before some federal law begins to restrict states rights by implementing another round of ex-post facto policies.

    Let’s face facts. A new wave of politicians will be sworn in after the midterm elections. Many of these politicians have a #metoo movement legislation agenda that will more than likely create new additions to the national registry and perhaps states registries. It is going to become a convoluted registry that will clog courts, families, individuals and enforcement standards that may witness arrest increases because of mixed laws. The similarities are already found with immigration standards and somehow crossing over to sex offender registries.

  • #45664 Reply

    Tim

    This case has All the unintended consequences of such an unconstitutional regime.

    It began as a regime to prevent little kids from being messed with sexually and evolved to include the Mister here engaged in normal human interaction. That’s how you know it’s about political security. They demonized this kid and made him a felon!
    WHO THE HECK BENEFITS FROM FORGING FELONS FROM THOSE NOT?
    Everybody loses in this scenario except who? I wonder how the girlfriend felt about her parent’s actions? She had to be in love????

  • #45867 Reply

    Tom

    When I was in sex offender treatment, I facetiously said that people who were continually charged with DUI should be on a registry because they are a danger to the community and it’s children. Drunk drivers could kill them. The counselor told me sex abuse was worse than death. I am no longer on the registry thanks to the Muniz ruling by the PA Supreme Court. It’s a sad commentary that I feel better about myself since getting off and my neighbors are friendlier even though I am still convicted of the offense and I am the same person. I still support the change of these overreaching laws that will not allow people convicted of sex offenses to be rehabilitated and move on with their lives. Sex offender parole is the most difficult and people who survive it have accomplished quite a feat. The PO’s try their damdest to get your parole revoked. So hang in their and keep fighting these oppressive rules.

  • #45942 Reply

    Allie

    If someone has child porno on their cell phones how can they prove that the owner of the cell phone put it there. Anyone can pick up another person’s cell phone and browse the web. I myself opened up my computer and was looking for American girl dolls and porno popped up. This is a bunch of crap and they force you

  • #45971 Reply

    James

    Hello,
    Need some help here and can’t find answers anywhere on the net.

    I’m required to register in California. Under current law I’m to register annual within 5 working days of my birthday. This statue means with Aug 28th beijg my birthday the timeline to register and remain compliant is 8/22/18-9/4/18.

    Despite 5 calls with messages left to schedule my appointment as I have since 1995, none of my calls have been returned. I called the administration Dept who also couldn’t reach the appropriate person to schedule. As of now I’m non compliant. However, this isn’t because I’ve failed to comply. So what can I do here? In 24 yrs, 4 jurisdictions and 2 states I’ve never had issue. I fear my freedom here and don’t know what to do!

    Thoughts

    • #46071 Reply

      Matthew

      James,

      First, always document and have ready to prove anything that’s important like that. Use voice recorder on your phone, or go in person recording the conversation. IF one party consent is legal in your state. Simply meaning the other person doesn’t have to know your recording. Evidence is the best defense if possible legal trouble occurs.

      Secondly, contact a lawyer if there are any out there that care anymore. In my town, in Texas, I couldn’t even find a lawyer to give me advice on cops pulling me over for a headlight being out, which turned into a search, hour long harassment, and a ticket. With them telling me it’s bevause I’m a sex offender. I’m guessing if you have money they may care more.

      But best of luck. Hopefully better and humane laws are coming our way.

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