CO Supreme Court: Lifetime juvenile sex offender registration unconstitutional

By Shelly Bradbury . . . Juveniles cannot be mandated to register as lifelong sex offenders in Colorado if there is no way for offenders to be individually assessed or to later be removed from the registry, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The 6-1 decision follows a new law signed by Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday that eliminates mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles who commit multiple sex offenses. The law takes effect Sept. 1.

The justices found that mandating all people who committed multiple sex offenses when they were children to register for life as sex offenders constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment.

“Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration brands juveniles as irredeemably depraved based on acts committed before reaching adulthood,” Justice Monica Márquez wrote. “But a wealth of social science and jurisprudence confirms what common sense suggests: Juveniles are different. Minors have a tremendous capacity to change and reform.”

Both the new law and the state Supreme Court’s decision open paths off the registry for people who were required to register as sex offenders when they were children, said attorney Gail Johnson, who represented a man identified only as T.B. in the state Supreme Court case.

The new law caps the amount of time a person can be registered as a sex offender for juvenile offenses to seven years or to when the person turns 25, whichever is later. At that point, the person’s name should be automatically removed from the registry; if it is not, the person can petition for a court order to ensure that is done.

The state Supreme Court’s decision allows for people registered as lifetime juvenile sex offenders to petition for removal from the registry even before the new law takes effect this fall.

“This was a facial constitutional challenge, so this means it applies broadly to any individual who is in T.B.’s position who was forced to register for life,” Johnson said of the court’s decision.

There are 1,789 juvenile sex offenders currently registered in the state, Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Medina said Monday.

Read the remainder of the piece here at the Denver Post.

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9 Thoughts to “CO Supreme Court: Lifetime juvenile sex offender registration unconstitutional”

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  1. H n H

    But wait, the registry is NOT punishment in any way shape or form. What’s good for one group under a civil requirement should be good for all, if it’s not punishment, but we all know it is, but let’s pretend it isn’t…

    1. Pope

      That’s the first thing that struck me in this article, “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”. Here in New York they claim it’s not punishment, it’s just for law enforcement to keep track those on the registry. Hogwash, punitive is EXACTLY what registration is!

  2. Joshua Novak

    Pennsylvania has adopted a similar law for both Juvenile convicted in Juvenile Court and Juveniles Convicted as Adults…. I was an example of that law….

  3. mut

    being forced from their home or vicinity without subpoena, warrant, probable cause or exigent circumstance should prompt a 4th amendment hearing

  4. mut

    doing that on a permanent basis seems a bill of pains and penalties that extinguishes 4th and 14th amendment rights.

  5. mut

    doing that for the financial benefit and luxury of all but the target is exploitation of [minors]

  6. mut

    none i am aware of are paid the fair market value of their “civil” non-penal service or even re-imbursed their out of pocket costs.

  7. mut

    and that is a clear intent to injure

  8. mut

    ‘because they committed a crime’ cant justify it without becoming punishment for a reason not to hire them in the first place which is incestuous.