Having been released to parole supervision following their incarceration resulting from separate convictions for sexual offenses the defendants individually appeared before the Court, pursuant to Correction Law to obtain judicial determinations as to the level of notification or classification applicable to them.
Prior to the Court’s assessment of their risk levels, criminal defendant one and defendant two, by Notice of Motion challenged the constitutionality of SORA. These motions, argued within two days of each other, have now been consolidated for purposes of this decision because they raise identical legal issues. Supported by a brief affirmation of the Assistant Public Defender appearing as counsel for both defendants and relying wholly upon the Judge’s decision, each defendant maintains that, as it applies to him, SORA is unconstitutional in that it violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The Attorney General, in opposition, while conceding the Act’s retrospectivity asserts that it does not implicate the Ex Post Facto Clause because the statute is remedial and not punitive.
The salient provisions of the statute, as it pertains to the defendants’ ex post facto claims, must initially be summarized. The Act requires those individuals convicted of designated offenses, principally sex crimes offenses, to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) ten days after their discharge from prison, or their release or parole. Verification by the sex offenders of their addresses and any relocation by them is required for at least ten years unless the court grants relief from the registration requirement. A sex offender’s failure to register is punishable as a misdemeanor for the first offense with any subsequent failure to do so constituting a Class D Felony. Additionally, any failure to register may constitute necessary grounds for a parole revocation.
DCJS is mandated to create a file for each registered individual comprised of the sex offender’s name, aliases, date of birth, physical description, driver’s license number, photograph, fingerprints and home address and/or expected place of domicile. A description of the offense, date of conviction and sentence is also included in each file. The accumulated sex offender data is maintained by DCJS in a central registry subject to dissemination to law enforcement agencies and other entities in accordance with the notification provisions delineated in the Act. The extent or degree of permissible notification is a function of the risk level of a repeat offense ascribed to a particular sex offender. In this regard, three levels of risk and notification, denoted as low (level one), moderate (level two), and high (level three), are recognized by the law.
Although notification to certain local law enforcement agencies is mandated for all sex offenders, public or community notification is only authorized for those sex offenders who are classified as attaining a level two or a level three risk assessment (Id.). A level two designation authorizes law enforcement agencies to disseminate to any entity with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense information about the sex offender, including his approximate address based on zip code, a photograph of the sex offender, as well as information relative to the sex offense for which he was convicted. As regards a level three sex offender, the same information is subject to release to that entity having a vulnerable population in addition to which said entity may also be apprised of the offender’s exact address. In addition, further circulation of the information received by the contacted entity is permissible. Moreover, data concerning a level three sex offender is contained in a subdirectory distributed to local police departments and accessible for public inspection. Another source of information regarding any registered sex offender is available through a “900” number that DCJS is mandated to operate. To Be Cont…..
Warnings are made so that we can avoid further harm. In connection with labeling sex offenders, it would be of help to the community if everyone is well aware of people who would be threat to them and their family members. If you want to pursue a sex related crime, consult the NYC Sex Crime Attorney or the NY Criminal Lawyer from Stephen Bilkis and Associates.