Maryland Internet crimes: man removed from sex-offender registry

On behalf of Jack B. Rubin, PA posted in Internet Crimes on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

A recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals could lead to nearly one-fourth of the state’s convicted sex offenders being removed from the official sex-offender registry. This would include those convicted of offenses running the gamut from rape and child molestation to those convicted of internet crimes like child pornography. The Maryland Court of Appeals found that requiring that those who were convicted of sex offenses before the sex-offender registry laws were enacted is unconstitutional.

Specifically, the Court of Appeals decided that the state would have to remove a former teacher who pleaded guilty to abusing a 13-year-old student from the sex offender registry because he committed the crime well before the registry started in 1995. This case could have a domino effect as other offenders convicted before that time start to appeal their own placement upon the sex-offender registry. Traditionally, both state and federal courts strike down punishments that seem to be violating an accused person’s rights not to face ‘double jeopardy’ types of repercussions.

One issue that is prominent in this debate is the fact that some states seem to view sex-offender registries as a further form of criminal punishment. Others, however, view their registries as a method of protecting the public from potential harm that convicted offenders could cause in the future. Whether something is seen as an additional layer of criminal punishment or a civil system for protection will likely affect whether courts like the Maryland Court of Appeals finds adding an offender to a registry at a later date to violate their constitutional rights.

Those who have been convicted of internet crimes like child pornography or other types of sex offenses may wish to review whether this Maryland Court of Appeals decision could benefit them. It could be worth looking into filing a lawsuit to strike down their requirement to appear on the state’s sex offender registry. Staying well-apprised of changing laws regarding offenses like these can often benefit someone who has been accused or convicted of this type of crime.

Source: The Washington Post, “Sex offender removed from Md. registry; could be first of many,” Aaron C. Davis, June 21, 2013

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