Help in throwing out bad laws? E-mail me at email@example.com.
By JAMES MINTON
An appellate court has ruled that the state cannot require a West Feliciana Parish man to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life or carry a special driver’s license and identification card.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal overturns a District Court judge’s ruling against _____, who was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile and carnal knowledge of a juvenile when he was 19.
Charles Griffin II, _____’s attorney, said _____ served his sentence for the 1995 convictions, completed his probation and complied with post-release registration requirements for a 10-year period after he was released from prison.
_____ said authorities told him in 2009 that he would have to register again as a sex offender for the rest of his life because the law had changed after he was convicted.
_____ complied, but challenged the order in 20th Judicial District Court. Unless the state decides to challenge the ruling, Griffin said, _____ will be able to get a driver’s license without “sex offender” written on it in orange letters.
Driver’s licenses for sex offenders must be renewed annually.
The opinion, issued Friday by Judges Vanessa G. Whipple, Jefferson D. Hughes III and Jewel E. “Duke” Welch, says case records show that _____ fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the period of time that was applicable when he was convicted.
The opinion says Louisiana’s version of “Megan’s Law,” has a legitimate civil purpose to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who might offend again.
In _____’s case, however, the amendments adopted after his conviction are “so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him.”
The retroactive application of amendments to the law violates the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions, the opinion says.
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln