Muldoon, Getz & Reston

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Issues In NY Criminal Law--Vol. 6, #8©

Issue: Risk assessment levels under New York's Sex Offender Registration Act

There are three risk levels under the Sex Offender Registration Act, based upon whether the risk of a repeat offense is determined to be low, moderate, or high. Corr Law § 168-l(6). This classification scheme is based in part upon a point system contained in the "Risk Assessment Instrument."

Sex Offender Registration Act Levels
Level Risk Level Points

  1. Low 70 and under
  2. Moderate 75-105
  3. High 110 and over

In addition to the risk level classification, further classification as a "sexual predator," "sexually violent offender" and "predicate sex offender" applies to persons as of March 11, 2002 who have not been released from incarceration (L. 2002, ch. 11, §§4, 24). Corr Law §168-n(1); People v Thornton, 16 AD3d 1169, 791 NYS2d 750 (4th Dept 2005). These terms are defined in Corr Law §168-a(7).

Such classification affects the length of registration: offenders so classified must register annually for life. Corr Law §168-h.
Additionally, both Level 3 offenders and sexual predators must verify their address every 90 days.

The statute has been summarized thus: "the SORA, as it currently exists, provides the following. Level one offenders, other than those who have been classified as "sexual predators," "sexually violent offenders," or "predicate sex offenders," must register for twenty years, and information about all level one offenders can be distributed to entities with vulnerable populations but is not maintained in the publicly accessible subdirectory. Level two and level three offenders and all offenders who have been classified as "sexual predators," "sexually violent offenders," or "predicate sex offenders," regardless of risk level, must register for life, though level two offenders who have not received such classifications may petition for relief after thirty years. Level two and three offenders are identified in a publicly accessible subdirectory." Doe v Pataki, 481 F3d 69 (2d Cir 2007).

The SORA risk level and designation will determine the length of registration, frequency of reporting, and extent of information disseminated about an offender.

There is a $50 initial registration fee, imposed at the time of sentencing, and $10 fee for change of address. Penal Law §60.35(1)(iv); Corr Law §168-b(8).

A toll-free number allows the public to find out if an individual is on the registry. Corr Law §168-p. The Division of Criminal Justice Services maintains an Internet site of Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. Corr Law §168-q. Additional information regarding sex offenders is available to the public under federal law.

Falsely disseminating a notice that a person is a registered sex offender is a crime. Penal Law §240.48. See also, Corr Law §168-q(2).

"If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur." -- Doug Larson

parsimony clause
Federal. Portion of federal statute that directs the judge to impose a sentence sufficient but not greater than necessary to comply with sentencing factors, including seriousness of offense, deterrence, further criminal conduct. 18 USC § 3553(a). US v Ministro-Tapia, 470 F3d 137 (2d Cir 2006).


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