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Court Determines if 18yr. Old Must Register as a Sex Offender Under SORA

An 18 year old man was indicted in Florida for Sexual Battery in October 1997. When he was arrested and arraigned under the indictment, the 18-year old entered a nolo contendere plea (this means he did not plead guilty or not guilty but that he was not contending the indictment). A New York Sex Crime Lawyer said the trial court withheld a judgment of conviction and instead ordered that the 18-year old be placed under order of supervision. He was required to be under four years’ probation. The Florida trial court also ordered the 18-year old to register as a sex offender in the state of Florida. This sexual offender registry is the equivalent of New York’s sex offender registry under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
The 18-year old finished his four-year probation. In February 2006, the 18-year old wrote to the Criminal Justice Services of the state of New York to inform it that he was a registered sex offender in Florida who was contemplating on moving to New York.

The Criminal Justice Services sent him the sex offender registration forms by mail and sent him a letter requiring him to register under the SORA. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the Board also recommended that he be registered as a sex offender. The Supreme Court in Kings County assessed his risk level as level 1.

Three years later, after the 18-year old had already been living in New York for years and after he had been ordered to register as a sex offender, the 18-year old filed a petition to vacate the Board’s decision ordering him to register as a sex offender in New York. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said the 18-year old claims that he was not a “convicted sex offender” which is a requirement for him to register under the SORA. He claims that because he did not enter a plea and the trial court in Florida did not enter a judgment of conviction against him, he cannot be considered to be a “convicted sex offender” who must register as such.

The Supreme Court of Kings County ordered that a hearing be conducted to determine the question of whether or not the 18-year old was properly notified by the Board that he must register. The Board did not grant the 18-year old offender a hearing. Instead, it began a new proceeding to determine if he needed to register. In January 2011, the Board issued a second determination that the man was a convicted sex offender who must register under the SORA as a sex offender in New York.
The 18-year old appealed the Board’s order requiring him to register. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer sai on appeal he claims the same ground: that he did not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and the trial court in Florida consequently withheld a judgment of conviction. Instead, he was ordered to be placed under supervision and was registered as a sex offender in Florida.

The only question is whether or not the 18-year old can be considered as a “convicted sex offender” and as such, required to register as a sex offender in the state of New York under the SORA.
The Court upheld the determination by the Board. The 18-year old is required to register as a sex offender. The Court held that New York did not recognize “nolo contendere” pleas. In New York, even if an accused does not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, a plea of not guilty will be entered for him and trial will ensue. The Court also held that the “nolo contendere” plea was the same as an “Alford plea” where an accused contests the existence of an element of a crime when the Court asks him if he knowingly enters a plea of guilty.

In a “nolo contendere” the accused admits nothing but does not contest the indictment. It is sufficient that he was sentenced under a conviction even when there is no memorandum or a decision in writing that he is convicted. He was sentenced to four years probation and he served it. He is considered a convicted sex offender.

The Court upheld the Board’s determination and ordered the 18-year old to register as a sex offender in New York.

Were you charged and indicted for rape in another state? Were you convicted of the rape charge in another state? Are you required to register as a sex offender in New York? YOu need representation, assistance or advice from a Kings County Rape Lawyer. A Kings County Rape attorney can explain to you your rights as well as your obligations to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, they have Kings County Rape attorneys who are willing to give you advice and assistance in this regard. The Kings County rape attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can help you present evidence to challenge the requirement for you to register as a sex offender. Come and visit the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates today.

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