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 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.

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    • #45503 Reply

      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

        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

      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

        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

      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

      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!
      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

      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

      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

      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!


      • #46071 Reply


        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.

    • #47881 Reply
      Marie Mitchell

      I am glad for every judge who rules SOR laws as punitive because they may have not started out to be, but they definitely are. We are currently fighting to have my husband removed from Oklahoma’s SOR. Ino 2003, when he wore shorts without underwear in a restaurant and only visibly offended an adult woman, he pled guilty. The law was 10 year registration with a 10 year suspended sentence, but they waited till the law was rewritten to sentence him to a total of 20 years registration. Should not the law at time of offense, or arrest, or at least guilty plea be the penalty? They delayed his sentencing for 10 months after he pled guilty.

      • #48313 Reply

        @ Marie Mitchell: I don’t recall where, but there are federal precedents that hold that the criminal and sentencing law in effect at the time of offense is the law that applies, in general. Violates ex post facto otherwise. However, it’s not very often that DAs, courts or defenders will look into what the law stated back then; they’ll simply refer to current law out of convenience. That’s a problem with sex offenses in particular, especially the status offenses and parole/probation terms that are seemingly rewritten daily and interpreted/implemented differently by each individual officer and judge.

        You’ll certainly have a strong argument if there was a significant difference in what the law said from time of offense to time of prosecution. But sadly, you’re not likely to prevail locally. Nationwide, the local criminal court system is a big old-boy network that you’re simply not a part of and never will be. Theoretically, you’ll have a much better chance on appeal. The hardest part of that is getting the appellate court to hear your case.

    • #48294 Reply

      Need to teach kids to never discuss their sex life with the police. Kids need to be taught that if the police are asking them about a previous sexual encounter that talking about it is a great way to end up on the sex offender registry. The right to remain silent and the right to an attorney FTW!

    • #53821 Reply
      Willie B. Hadley Jr

      I am writing because my brother Leonard Hadley, was forced to plead guilty in St. Clair County Circuit Court to 730 ILCS 750/6 Failure to register as a sex offender based on a 2002 California conviction (which he was forced to plead guilty to also because the Public Defender said he couldn’t go to trial and the alleged victim wasn’t 14 yrs old but 25 yrs old) and he has been charged with failure to register in 2016 and 2018 by the State of Illinois even though he can produce documentary evidence signed by Cahokia Illinois Police Department showing that he did register on 6/29/2018. What’s even more egregious is that his Public Defender Grant Menges refused to raise his claim that he did register, refused to interview Cahokia PD; refused to even visit him in St. Clair County Jail during the six months he has been there; refused to raise the claim that application of 730ILCS 750/6 to his 2002 conviction violated federal ex post facto clause; repeated agreed to continuances without his explicit authorization; and even Mr. Menges sexually harassed Leonard while he was in a room at this courthouse. The judge Haida told Leonard that if he didn’t go to trial with Menges that he would have to represent himself on 3/18/2019 even though Leonard told him on the record that forcing to trial with Menges violated his right to due process. While in the jail my brother Leonard, who suffers from Phase 1 Brugada Syndrome; extreme hypertension; suffers extreme pain everyday due to a gunshot wound to his head in 1976 and paralysis on the left-side of his body was denied medical treatment (allowed to see his Cardiologist so that the PACEMAKER/DEFIBRILLATOR implanted in his chest to keep him alive can be calibrated as it has been since it was surgically implanted in 2008), and he told Judge Haida that he would plead guilty if the judge Ordered St. Clair County Jail to take him to his Cardiologist so that the device in chest can be calibrated, not because he is guilty of violating 730 ILCS 750/6. Leonard continues to suffer in the jail based on false charges and is being maliciously prosecuted by St. Clair County State’s Attorney who knows my brother has committed no crime.

    • #66272 Reply

      I am stuck in a really bad position had a relationship in 1997 I turned 18 before she turned 17 I was charged with a felony criminal sexual abuse state dropped it to a misdemeanor I plead guilty complied with everything and was off the register after my 10 years the county in which I live has arrested me 3 times and charged me with violating the registration requirements I have beaten all 3 cases after spending thousands of dollars doing so the most recent was a month ago. Now to bring this up to speed 2 of the charges they tried to get me for were several years ago and were filed a couple years apart. More recent I was hit head on by my next door neighbor I was not at fault but suffered a brain bleed in the accident and the neighbors husband came to the scene of the accident and punched me in the head when I couldn’t see or stand up to protect myself the man who punched me is a local school board member the county sheriff did nothing about him punching me that’s when all my trouble started a month later the sheriffs department arrested me I missed work had to spend the night in jail and post bond the next day hire a attorney and fight the registers charges and the state dropped the charges after several appearances in court. The county left me alone for less than a month and then I get a call from the lieutenant at the sheriffs department that they need to see me so I go to the county and they give me a paper saying the next door neighbor that hit me head on has opened a day care all of a sudden and I have 30 days to vacate my property. I just built my new home last October so my wife and my children will be staying in our new home and I will be moving to my own place while we try to fight this I have been harassed by the sheriffs department for numerous years now 15 to 20 tickets in the last couple years all that the state dismissed plus the charges for violations to the registery that I no longer am on and have had them all dismissed. Now this I have to leave my family and my new home while we fight to be be treated as human beings. And my neighbor is not truly running a day care they only opened it to get me from where I’m at I live out in the country and there are no zoning laws in the country I don’t know what to do my spirit and soul are completely broken from all this harassment and fighting for my freedom I am not a bad person I go to work and I go home I have 2 children of my own and a granddaughter and have raised 3 step kids who love and respect me I’m proud of all the kids for what they have become and I had a part in them becoming who they are. And I have fought this for so long I just don’t know how much longer I can fight this wrong doing I’m becoming a severely broken person. I know that there are some people who belong on the registry but some of us don’t we made choices that put us where we were and we done the time. But the truth is we will always do the time. I’m 42 years old now and get into no trouble I have a very good job one of the best paying jobs in my area I work hard have raised my kids to be responsible respectful and hard working good people. Now I’m losing everything I have worked for my whole life. Even with doing an evaluation with a counselor a long time ago that was voluntary and it being handed into the courts and the evaluation shows I’m no risk to reoffend in the eyes of the sheriffs department and the state prosecutor I’m a bad person even though I’m not. I’m a better person than the deputy’s they are crooked and deceitful and it’s well known that they are we had 2 sheriffs arrested in this county the actual sheriff not deputy’s the sheriffs so what does that go to say. People who had to register and completed successfully and don’t get into trouble and do everything that is right should be treated like they have rights we are the same as every other person we put our pants on one leg at a time. Please if anybody has some advice I would love to hear

    • #76823 Reply

      In a truly bizarre twist of judicial bullying, the State appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court who refused to hear it, but issued a “supervisory order” to the Appellate Court to reverse their decision. This happened this past February. Therefore, Mr. Kochevar is still on the Illinois registry.

      Might be time for us to gather round the horses and prepare the big guns. The Supreme Court is going to have to settle this once and for all in “mega” case that is fail proof. Larry, you listening?? 🙂

    • #76824 Reply

      Also I just realized the poor guys name is coming up on Google search for THIS article. Anything we can do about that?? We don’t want to be assisting in labelling people via internet searches do we?

    • #82568 Reply
      Allen, F.

      Today my son is sitting in St. Clair County Jail for failure to register as a Sex Offender. He did 3 years in Ohio Prison and upon his release, he was ordered to register as an offender for 10 years. When he moved back here to Illinois he did as ordered and registered for the 10 years which was suppose to end in 2016. Illinois has decided to overlook the ruling of a sitting judge in Ohio and is trying to force my son to register for the rest of his life as a predator which isn’t fair especially since he hasn’t committed any offense such as this since moving here to Illinois. My son has lost a good job because he kept being harassed by the Fairview Heights Police pulling him over every chance they got. They could see him driving on the opposite side of the road and if it looked like he was the one driving they would make a u-turn in the road and pull up behind him and arrest him saying they had an arrest warrant but the strange thing is the warrant wouldn’t appear for 4 days. The Law needs to change and not let this continue happening.

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