VALPARAISO | A Porter County man is challenging the constitutionality of an amended law increasing the time he must register as a sex offender from 10 years to his entire life.
Scott Miller said the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the amendment violates a prohibition in the Indiana Constitution against retroactively applying the law in certain cases like his own, according to the petition.
The prohibition applies when the offender is not a sexually violent predator, was required to register for 10 years when released from incarceration and was subsequently required to register for life as a result of amendments to the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act, the petition says. He said all these requirements apply to his case.
Miller, through his Portage-based attorney Andrew Spica, is asking the court to absolve him from the requirement to register any longer as a sex offender.
The request is set for hearing at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 before Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa.
The Porter County prosecutor's office had not yet filed its response as of Thursday.
Miller said he pleaded guilty Dec. 3, 1999, to child molesting between November 1996 and September 1997, according to his petition. He was sentenced to eight years behind bars, with six years suspended and to be served on formal probation.
When released from prison on Nov. 30, 2000, Miller said he was told he had to register as a sex offender for 10 years. State law was then amended July 1, 2001 to increase the registration period for his conviction to life.
Miller said his 10-year registration period ended Dec. 1, 2010, but he has continued to comply.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruling exempting his type case was handed down Jan. 10, 2013, he said. ..Source.. by Bob Kasarda
Appeals court: Second region sex offender not required to register
INDIANAPOLIS | For the second time in less than a month, the Indiana Court of Appeals has declared it unconstitutional to require a Northwest Indiana man to register as a sex offender.
Terry Hough, 48, of Portage, was convicted of rape in 1993 in Pennsylvania. He served nearly four years in prison, completed his parole obligations in 1998 and then moved to Indiana.
Hough's conviction came prior to enactment of sex offender registration laws in either Indiana (1994) or Pennsylvania (1996). Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford previously ruled forcing Hough to register would be an unconstitutional, retroactive punishment.
Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller appealed that finding. In a 3-0 ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Bradford got it right.
The appeals court acknowledged changes since made to Pennsylvania law would compel Hough's registration if he lived there. But as an Indiana resident, Hough is protected from retroactive punishment by the Indiana Constitution, the court ruled.
"To require that Hough register as a sex offender for a conviction pre-dating the enactment of (Indiana's Sex Offender Registration Act) would violate Indiana's constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws," Judge Paul Mathias wrote.
On Nov. 8, a separate three-judge Court of Appeals panel ruled Jerome Burton, of Hammond, convicted in 1987 of a sex crime in Illinois, is not required to register because his conviction came prior to creation of the Illinois and Indiana sex offender registries.
Zoeller spokesman Bryan Corbin said the attorney general's office is reviewing the rulings to decide whether to appeal to the state's highest court.
"The Indiana Supreme Court has held that the Indiana Constitution limits some of the circumstances in which the offender registration laws apply. So the courts are continuing to consider, case-by-case, the boundaries of those limits," Corbin said. "As state government's lawyer, the Indiana Attorney General's Office has a responsibility to help courts sort through these complex questions." by Dan Carden