Thursday, February 4, 2016

failure-to-register charges draw excessive punishment

A man with one leg was assigned an upper bunk; he injured himself getting off the upper bunk and after the ACLU sued, the sheriff's department owes the man $40,000. Simple enough.

In the second paragraph, the article tells us that the man is a registered sex offender. What sex crime did he commit to end up in jail?
[The man] was incarcerated at the time of his alleged injury for failing to register as a convicted sex offender. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in the Indiana Department of Correction, with an earliest possible release date of September.
 Six years for failure to register. Not a fine, not a week or a month in jail: six years.
But he was arrested again in November for failure to register, and he was sentenced to serve the remainder of his probation in the DOC.
[The man], 30, was 15 years old in 2000 when he was adjudicated as a delinquent child for criminal sexual abuse in Macon County, Illinois, according to Tippecanoe Superior Court 1 records.
 Ah. His sex offense--his only conviction for a sex offense--was 15 years ago.
He was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years but failed to do so in 2006, 2009 and 2013, court records state.
He was sentenced to prison for each conviction, and his decade on the sex offender registry started over each time he was released. [My emphasis.]
In and out of prison for 15 years. Half  his life. The "crime" that sent him back to prison three times
was failure to register. Without the registry, this man would have lived a crime-free life after his initial offense of criminal sexual abuse.

What is criminal sexual abuse?

A 2014 Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) article explains.
Illinois uses four broad categories to describe youth sexual offenses, three of which require juveniles to register as sex offenders for life. Only one charge (criminal sexual abuse, which usually refers to touching or fondling) garners a registration of 10 years.
Criminal sexual abuse carries the least punishiment of the four categories and yet this man is still paying for his misdeeds 15 years later.

Some would look at him and wonder why he hasn't learned his lesson yet. Register and get it over with!

Others would look at him and wonder why Illinois hasn't learned its lesson yet. Convictions for failure to register draw excessive punishment.

No comments: