Ohio high court clears up sex offender laws: part one

As part of a year-end transition, the Ohio Supreme Court released several decisions last week. Among them are three rulings that could clarify sex offender registration requirements under Megan's Law and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

Each of these laws is designed to make available to the public information regarding sex offenders and their location in the state. In 1996, Ohio adopted a federal law known as Megan's Law, which required states to implement a registry system for those who commit sex crimes and crimes against children, as well as community notification provisions.

The Adam Walsh act was enacted by Congress in 2006 to implement new standards for classifying sex offenders into three tiers based on the crime committed.

A federal mandate required states to adopt the Adam Walsh Act or lose federal funding. Ohio repealed Megan's Law in July 2007 and adopted the Adam Walsh Act. However, the effective date for the new law was January 2008, leaving a gap in enforcement that has led to some questions about offenses committed in between.

Last week the court addressed some of those cases. They held that any offense committed between the repeal of Megan's Law and the effective date of the Adam Walsh Act be classified under Megan's Law. Which law applies is determined based on the date of the offense, not the date of conviction.

The court also weighed in on two other cases arising from the transition, which we'll discuss next week. We'll also talk about how the change in laws has caused problems for both the prosecution and the defense in related cases.

If you or someone you love are facing accusations or charges involving a sex offense, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you build a strong defense and work with you, negotiating with prosecutors if appropriate to get the best possible result in your case.

Source: The Chillicothe Gazette, "Ohio court's sex offender ruling clarifies some laws," Jona Ison, Dec. 10, 2012

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