Two decisions handed down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court this month continued to roll back the Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections’ over-aggressive application of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act.
This month’s decisions involved convicted sex offenders who moved to Oklahoma and were required to comply with Oklahoma sex offender registration rules. The decisions follow a June decision in which the court blocked retroactive application of sex offender registration rules.
The cases could potentially affect thousands of individuals who were required to register as sex offenders after moving to Oklahoma. Some who were previously told to register may no longer be required to register as a sex offender.
Constitutional Protections Prevail
In one case, Bollin v. Jones, 2013 OK 72, a man had arrived in the state in 2004 before the Sex Offender Registration Act retroactively – according to the Oklahoma Supreme Court – required those convicted elsewhere to register. The DOC had nonetheless required him to comply with the latest Oklahoma sex offender registration rules. In the other case, Hendricks v Jones, 2013 OK 71, a man arrived in the state in 2009 and was required to register for an out of state conviction 26 years earlier. A person who had been similarly convicted within Oklahoma would not be required to register.
The court cited equal protect guarantees in reversing trial court and appeals courts decisions in favor of the Dept. of Corrections requirement that Joseph Hendricks register for a 1982 conviction in California. At the time he arrived, according to Oklahoma law the court struck down this month, only those Oklahoma sex offenders convicted for offenses after Nov. 1989 were required to register. Anyone convicted in another state, a federal court, a tribal court or a military court at any time and moved to Okahoma after 1989 had been required to register, contrary to constitutional provisions that everybody lives under the same laws.
In Michael Bolin’s case, the trial court had agreed that the law when he arrived in Oklahoma in 2004 only required those convicted in another jurisdiction after Nov. 1, 1989 were required to register. An appeals court reversed the trial court decision, and required him to register for a 1987 Missouri conviction. In vacating the appeals court decision, the Supreme Court cited its June decision in Starkey v Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections 2013 OK 43 prohibiting ex post facto application of new sex offender registration rules.
Thousands of Registered Sex Offenders Potentially Exempted
If you have been notified of an obligation to comply with Oklahoma Sex Offender registration rules for an old or out of state conviction, these three decisions suggest you may not be required to register. If you’ve been charged or convicted for failing to register as a sex offender, likewise, your conviction may be subject to reversal under recent Supreme Court decisions.
Failing to register when the DOC claims you must, however, can result in severe criminal penalties. Tulsa attorneys at the Wirth Law Office can help you determine what laws really apply to you under the latest court rulings.
Because Oklahoma’s sex offender registration laws have changed every year since “SORA” (Okla. Stat. tit, 57, § 581-590.2 1989) was first enacted 24 years ago, the time of your conviction and the time you arrived in Oklahoma can make a significant difference in whether the requirements apply to you. Thousands of individuals currently required to register may be legible to end the burdensome ongoing registration process under these three recent rulings.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Sex Offender Registration Attorney
There’s no reason to risk your reputation or go through the time and hassle of repeatedly registering under laws that have been deemed unconstitutional. For a free consultation with our Tulsa sex offender registration attorney, call the Wirth Law Office’s Tulsa criminal defense attorney at (918) 879-1681 or toll free at 1 (888) Wirth-Law. If you prefer written correspondence, you may submit a question through the form at the top right of this page.