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Oklahoma Supreme Court Considers Sex Offender Registry Laws

Lawyers representing three convicted sex offenders are challenging Oklahoma’s sex offender registry rules, claiming that the regulations are being applied retroactively, which makes them unconstitutional. The criminal defense attorneys urged the Oklahoma Supreme Court on February 5 to keep the state from putting their clients’ names on the sex offender registry. An attorney for the …

Lawyers representing three convicted sex offenders are challenging Oklahoma’s sex offender registry rules, claiming that the regulations are being applied retroactively, which makes them unconstitutional. The criminal defense attorneys urged the Oklahoma Supreme Court on February 5 to keep the state from putting their clients’ names on the sex offender registry. An attorney for the state, however, argued that the court should uphold the sex offender registry laws, saying that Oklahoma residents need to know whether convicted sex offenders are residing in their neighborhoods, even though they haven’t re-offended in more than a decade. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Oklahoma, your first course of action should be to enlist the qualified help of our criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center. Our law firm is located in Oklahoma City, and our lawyers have experience protecting the legal rights of defendants throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Sex Crimes Committed Pre-Sex Offender Registry

Two of the sex offenders are arguing that they are exempt from the state’s sex offender registry laws because their crimes were committed before the registry was established in November 1989. Joseph Hendricks was convicted in 1982 of a crime in California that would be equivalent to Oklahoma’s lewd or indecent acts with a minor. He moved from California to Oklahoma in 2009. Michael Bollin was convicted of an unspecified sex crime in Missouri in 1987 and has resided in Oklahoma since June 2004. The third convicted sex offender, James Starkey, pled no contest to sexual assault involving a minor child in Texas in 1998 and received a deferred sentence. He moved to Oklahoma later that year and the law required him to register as a sex offender for ten years, although the law has since been changed to require a more lengthy registration.

Appeals Court Rules Against Retroactive Registration

In 2010, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decided in an unrelated case that sex offender registration requirements could only be applied going forward. As a result, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses in Oklahoma before 1989 aren’t required to register, but those convicted in other states are required to register if they move to Oklahoma at a later date. The criminal defense attorneys for the sex offenders have called this action “punitive in nature,” arguing that the sex offender statutes are unconstitutional because they single out a small class of individuals for special treatment. An attorney for the state argued that the sex offender rules “protect the citizens of Oklahoma.” However, the convicted sex offenders “have been good citizens,” one of the defense attorneys argues, and they have not reoffended since they moved to Oklahoma.

Consult Our Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

Oklahoma residents for the sex offender registry rules argue that the laws are in place to protect the public and their children. As one Oklahoman said, “The fact is, they committed a crime against the public, and they could reoffend.” However, it is extremely important that the rights of sex offenders aren’t taken advantage of during the criminal justice process just because of the nature of their crime. Far too often, the stigma attached to sex crimes results in convicted sex offenders not being afforded the rights they are entitled to, even after they have completed the terms of their punishment and have remained a law-abiding citizen in the years since. If you have been accused of a sex crime in the state of Oklahoma, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center as soon as possible to build a strong defense in your case.

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