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Is Ohio's sex offender registry system broken?

Nearly 30 years ago, an Ohio man served time for a rape conviction stemming from an encounter with a woman his own age. While he was in jail, the state retroactively labeled him as a sexual predator, a label that many people associate with child sex abuse. Since that time, state registry restrictions dictate where he lives, works and plays. Additionally, neighbors receive notification when he moves in and potential employers learn of his status, making it nearly impossible for him to find a job.

The married man has turned his life around long ago but, because of the sex offender registration requirements, many believe he is guilty of a sex crime involving a child. He likens the registry to a life-long punishment.

The 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed that registration is a severe punishment. In State v. Wilson, the court ruled that sex offender registry requirements are unconstitutional in certain cases when they are applied retroactively -- applied to people who were convicted before the law came into effect.

The Ohio registration program

Since 1997, the state has required registration of individuals convicted of sex offenses. According to the Ohio Attorney General's office, there are nearly 20,000 registered sex offenders throughout the state. Registration is supposed to provide the public with notification of an offender's location and give victims a sense of security knowing that offenders are tracked by the legal system.

Critics claim that the state registry program is costly, hard to maintain and often provides inaccurate information. Even criminal justice and victim advocates argue that the Ohio sex offender registry system provides a false sense of security to victims and the public.

Fight for your freedom

If you are facing a sex crime charge, don't assume that your life is over. Although the stigma attached to a sex crime conviction (or even an accusation) is a heavy burden, a skilled criminal defense attorney will fight the charges against you and help you get your life back on track.

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