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Court Discusses Sex Offender Registration Act


On January 21, 1996, the Sex Offender Registration Act was created by the legislative body of the New York State legal system. It provided that each offender who commits a sexually related offense, must be registered with the state as a sex offender. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the risk level that is assigned to each offender is based on that offender’s prior criminal history and the chance that the offender will commit the same or similar offence in the future.

When an offender commits a sexually related offense, they are provided with a hearing date where the facts and circumstances surrounding their most recent conviction are compared with any prior convictions. This comparison is designed to look for trends in behavior that could predict the actions of the offender in the future. Since, no one in the justice department, claims to be a fortune teller, there is no truly accurate measure of whether or not, an offender will commit an offense in the future. Bearing this in mind, the courts must look at the actions that this person has taken in the past. Courts have historically been resistant to including previous criminal activities in the measurement of current convictions. Just because a person has offended in this manner in the past does not necessarily mean that the person committed that crime on that date. A Westchester Criminal Lawyer said this contention of law is why it is not admissible for a prosecutor to discuss the offender’s predilection to commit a particular type of offense in court unless they have received prior approval from the court to do so based on a direct link to the offense that is at trial.

That is not the case when discussing the risk for recidivism of a sexually based offender in the legal system. History can show if an offender has an uncontrollable predilection to committing the offense that he is being tried for. For instance, if an offender has committed ten prior rapes, the chances that he will rape again are logically pretty good. However, if a person was convicted of rape under circumstances that were shaky at best, and it is the only offense that is in the person’s criminal history, he is less likely to commit the same or similar offense again. He is certainly less of a risk than the offender with ten like crimes prior to the conviction of his eleventh offense.

One case brought in an entirely different element. What about the offenders who committed their predicate crimes prior to the enacting of the Sex Offender Registration act? One offender filed an appeal based on the premise that his predicating offenses were enacted prior to the approval of the Sex Offender Registration Act. Is that offender correct in assuming that his prior acts should not be considered in relation to determining his risk rating under the Act?

The Supreme Court did not agree with him. They stated that the offender’s claims that his prior offenses should not be considered because they were committed prior to the enacting of the Sex Offender Registration Act are not valid arguments. He committed his most recent assault after the enacting of the Sex Offender Registration Act. The guidelines of that act in rating an offender’s risk to the public includes looking back into that person’s history and seeing if there is an obvious pattern of conduct that would lead a normal and reasonable person to believe that the offender is likely to commit the same or similar offense again in the future. If the answer to this question is in the affirmative, then the court would have erred in not allowing the consideration of the subject’s prior criminal history. The protection of the public must continue to be in the forefront of the court’s dealings with sexually based offenders.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its criminal Lawyers have convenient offices throughout New York State and the Metropolitan area. A sex crimes Attorney can provide you with assistance that is needed to guide you through difficult situations.

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