Issues In NY Criminal Law--Vol. 6, #7©
Issue: Sex Offender Registration - Introduction
Conviction of many sex offenses may result in greater punishment than for other crimes:
- a $1,000 “supplemental sex offender victim fee,” Penal Law §60.35(1)(b). (Despite its title, however, the victim does not receive it).
- if probation is imposed, a longer period is imposed, including for a Youthful Offender sentence. Penal Law §65.00(3)(a)(iii).
- DNA registration and payment of DNA databank fee. Penal Law §60.35(1)(v).
- registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
- sex offender registration fee. Penal Law §60.35(1)(a)(iv).
- civil commitment.
Under the Sex Offender Registration Act, Correction Law article 6-C, convicted offenders of specified crimes are required to register with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. New York State’s version of Megan’s Law was enacted in 1995 and has been amended several times since. See Doe v Pataki, 481 F3d 69 (2d Cir 2007). A version of Megan’s Law exists in all 50 states. See People v Kennedy, 7 NY3d 87, 817 NYS2d 614, 850 NE2d 661 (2006), n. 1 (Graffeo, concurring)
SORA’s constitutionality has been upheld. Doe v Pataki, 120 F3d 1263 (2d Cir 1997).
SORA’s registration requirement is a collateral consequence of a conviction, thus a guilty plea induced by ignorance of it is not ground for withdrawal of the plea. People v Smith, 39 AD3d 1141, 829 NYS2d 375 (4th Dept 2007); People v Dorsey, 28 AD3d 351, 813 NYS2d 81 (1st Dept 2006); People v Coss, 19 AD3d 943, 798 NYS2d 170 (3d Dept 2000).
Initial registration must occur at least ten days before discharge from incarceration, or at the time of sentencing, if a different sentence is imposed. Corr Law §168-f(1). Thereafter, registration annually (more frequently for certain offenders) is required. Corr Law §168-f(2).
For the categories of sexual predator, sexually violent offender and predicate sex offender, registration is annually for life, regardless of risk level. Corr Law §168-h(2). A change of address must be reported ten days before. Corr Law §168-f. Failure to register is itself a crime (first time a misdemeanor, second time a class D felony), and is grounds for revocation of parole. Corr Law §168-t. It is a strict liability crime, although the offender must be given notice of the obligation to register. People v Patterson, 185 Misc2d 519, 708 NYS2d 815 (City Crim Cr 2000).
As part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub L. No. 109-248, a national registry of sex offenders is established. Failure to register is a federal felony.
Convictions requiring SORA registration
Most Penal Law article 130 crimes (including attempt crimes), kidnaping offenses where the victim is less than 17 years old, and other offenses require SORA registration. A list of crimes requiring registration is available at: http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/sortab1.htm
SORA registration is applicable to an abduction-related conviction, despite the absence of a sexual aspect or motive. People v Downey, 34 AD3d 342, 824 NYS2d 287 (1st Dept 2006); see also, People v Cassano, 34 AD3d 239, 823 NYS2d 395 (1st Dept 2006) (constitutional as applied); People v Cintron, 13 Misc3d 833, 827 NYS2d 445 (Sup 2006).
Youthful Offender Adjudication Excluded
A Youthful Offender adjudication does not come within SORA. Corr Law §168-a(1). However, a previous Youthful Offender adjudication for a sex offense can be used in assessing the risk level, People v Peterson, 8 AD3d 1124, 778 NYS2d 626 (4th Dept 2004), as may a juvenile delinquency adjudication for a sex offense. People v Dort, 18 AD3d 23, 792 NYS2d 236 (3d Dept 2005).
A person with a sex offense conviction who moves to New York State is required to register as a sex offender. Corr L §168-k.
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