MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 9, 2013

Defend sex offender registry

— Convicted sex offenders should abide by laws requiring them to register their location in Oklahoma.

It’s a public safety measure that we support wholeheartedly.

But three convicted sex offenders are challenging Oklahoma’s sex offender registry law.

They argue that the law is being applied retroactively.

Two of the men say their crimes predated the start of the law in 1989.

Persons convicted of certain sex offenses in Oklahoma prior to 1989 don’t have to register.

But those who are convicted in another state after 1989 have been required to register when they move to Oklahoma.

It is very difficult to sort out because of the need to protect society while adhering to the Constitution.

The argument centers around whether the sex offender registry is punitive in nature.

Registration is part of the sentence in Oklahoma. But can the state require convicted sex offenders from other states to register if their crime was committed prior to 1989?

Ex post facto (“after the fact”) laws are unconstitutional. Article I of the United States Constitution says so.

It is unconstitutional to make laws retroactive. You can’t be convicted of an act if the act was not illegal when you committed it.

But to allow sex offenders convicted of crimes before 1989 to live in Oklahoma without registration makes our state a magnet for such people.

Many crimes including child molestation should carry the lifetime punishment of public registration to protect our citizens.

Laws should act as deterrents. If the crime is legally harsh enough, would-be criminals might think twice before committing acts in our state.

That’s the goal we should be seeking.

The sex offender registry is there for a good purpose.

1
Text Only
Opinion
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks