The High Court of Maryland recently made changes to the state’s sex offender laws that could affect how judges pass sentence on those accused. The National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws reports that registry on the state’s sex offender list is now officially an act of punishment for convicted individuals who commit such an act.
If your loved one currently faces a sex offense charge or conviction, understanding how this law might affect the ruling or appeals process may assist you.
Details of the ruling
In the past, placement on a state sex offender registry was often a part of the conviction meant to increase public awareness of any offenders living in the neighborhood. As such, the registry acted as service, not a punishment. However, in April, the Maryland high court ruled that placement on the state’s registry is now an inclusive punishment as part of a sex offense conviction. While this may distress you and your loved one, there are some restrictions and regulations placed within this law that could help in a plea deal or appeal ruling.
Because this new ruling gives registry on the sex offender list a new definition, prosecutors must now prove the accused actions beyond a reasonable doubt or present an admission from the alleged offender, such as one offered during the plea deal process. If a plea deal is not part of your loved one’s court case and he or she pleads not guilty or decides to appeal the court’s ruling, registry may not take place unless the appeal is rejected or the alleged offender is found guilty.
The new Maryland ruling requires sex offenders to remain on the registry for up to 25 years. Mandatory registry may depend on the nature of the offense and the age of the alleged victim.