Seventh Circuit orders names of six Indiana registrants removed from registry

By Olivia Covington . . . Six men required to register as sex offenders after moving to Indiana can have their names removed from the sex offender registry, the 7th Circuit has held, finding that the state’s registration law discriminates between offenders who have consistently lived in Indiana and those who more recently moved into the state. A dissenting judge, however, disagreed with the majority’s holding that the registration law burdens the plaintiffs’ right to travel.

Judge Ilana Rovner authored the Wednesday opinion in Brian Hope, et al. v. Commissioner of Indiana Department of Correction, et al.19-2523. Judge Diane Wood joined the majority opinion, while Judge Amy St. Eve dissented.

The case involves the required registration of six men — Brian Hope, Gary Snider, Adam Bash, Joseph Standish, Patrick Rice and Scott Rush — under the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act. Each man committed their sex crimes 25 to 35 years ago, each was required to register as a sex offender in another state, and each relocated or returned to Indiana after serving their sentences.

SORA was enacted in 1994 and amended in 1996 to require registration by anyone convicted elsewhere of a state offense that was “substantially equivalent” to an Indiana offense requiring registration. The law was amended again in 2006, this time to apply to a “person who is required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction.”

In 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court handed down Wallace v. State905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009), holding that the requirements of SORA could not be imposed on anyone whose offenses predated the enactment of the statute. Thus, as long as a person whose offense predated SORA remained an Indiana resident, they were not required to register as a sex offender.

“This case is before us now, however, because, despite the Wallace decision, persons with pre-SORA convictions who relocate to Indiana from another state where registration was required or relocate from Indiana to another state requiring registration and then back again, must register in Indiana, even if Indiana would not have required them to register had they committed their offenses in Indiana and never left,” Rovner wrote.

Hope and Snider filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in the Indiana Southern District Court, and Judge Richard Young entered the injunction in April 2017.  That case was consolidated with one brought by Rice, Bash and Rush.

Read the remainder of the article here at The Indiana Lawyer.

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    • #79612 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      Gov. efficiency at its most pathetic. Injunction ordered in 2017 and it is now 2021. One of the primary reasons why the prohibition upon ex post language use in statute applied to the already adjudicated was ratified. Neat and clean finality in law and order.

      Final orders were intended to be factually final by the founders- save appeal. Only lawyer types benefit from such inefficiencies and not the general population. Hopefully these men will continue to pursue formal action upon the state of Indiana because in America the presumption of innocence has been demolished.

    • #79755 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Yet another nice addition to the growing body of favorable case law.

      In ruling for the appellees, the 7th Circuit recognized 3 facts: (1) This sets up the very sort of multi-tiered state citizenship that the Supreme Court’s right to travel cases prohibit. This discriminatory classification is a penalty in and of itself and can only survive if it satisfies strict scrutiny. (2) The court was pointed to NO EVIDENCE indicating, nor does the State suggest, that individuals who began to reside in Indiana after the other jurisdiction provision of SORA was enacted are more likely to re-offend than whose who were residents prior to that time. (3) However small in number the plaintiffs may be, Indiana has assigned them to a class of citizenship that is inferior to that enjoyed by other, similar situated, Indianans, and for the plaintiffs, it is their relocation from other states that has resulted in that second-class status.

    • #79756 Reply
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      Richard

      So does this mean I could move to Indiana from California and not have to register any longer?

    • #79760 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Larry has made this statement many times on “Registry Matters”:

      For the life of me, I cannot understand why any state would want to spend the money to bring a P.F.R. back to their state! If they are gone, that’s one less they have to worry about. And yet they spend lots of money hunting them down using the U.S. Marshalls to bring them back just so they can prosecute them and throw them in prison. People who leave are that many less the state has to pay money to monitor and keep up with. You think they’d be happy!!! Our fiscal conservative magically flip-flop to “No amount of money is too much when it comes to keeping up with these very dangerous predators. I put my hand on that BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIBLE and swore I’d speak for my voters and keep them safe and that’s what I’m-a gonna do!!”

    • #79773 Reply
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      hershel meadows

      the 7th circuit ruled it was unconstitutional to require registration for these 6 men. My circunstances are exactly like one of these 6 men. So why do I have to hire an attorney and go to a state level court and get a court order ordering my removal?

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