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Appeals court decision removes offenders from sex crime registry

A recent decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals could mean that your name is eligible for removal from the state's sex offender registry. As we speak, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is reviewing records to determine which offenders may be eligible for removal from the sex crime registry. Some components of the registry listing were deemed unconstitutional under the new decision.

In Maryland, sex offenders are generally placed on the registry for three types of terms: Tier I, which leads to 15 years' inclusion, Tier II, which leads to 25 years, and Tier III, which leads to lifetime inclusion on the list. In general, offenders are only eligible for removal from the registry if their term is complete, they die, they relocate or their conviction is expunged or overturned. That could all change thanks to the new ruling from the state's appeals court, which makes certain offenders eligible for removal from the list if their conviction pre-dated the creation of the registry itself.

The sex crime registry in the state of Maryland contains a significant amount of information about those included on the list. That information includes name, age and address, along with the person's place of employment, term of registration, registry information, aliases and even vehicle information. Those who fail to register as required by law may be subject to criminal penalties. These invasive terms also require offenders to contact registry representatives if they change residence for as little as five days, or even if they drop out of school.

The fact remains that a large number of those currently included on the list may be eligible for discharge from the registry because of the appeals court decision. No one should have to go through the arduous process of sex offender registration if it violates their constitutional rights. Those who are charged with a sex crime should only be included on the sex crime registry if it is legally appropriate.

Source: Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, "Sex Offender Registry FAQs" Jul. 26, 2014

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