Sex Offenders Registry Indiana
State of resident sex offender checks may not be enough to find out if someone you are hiring or someone living in your neighborhood is a registered sex offender. The Supreme Court ruled today that a sex offender from Alabama did not need to register in Indiana after a relocation because his conviction predated the passage of the law that requires sex offenders to register. Thomas Carr was arrested in 2004 in Alabama on first degree sexual abuse of a minor but the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) wasn’t passed until 2006. He successfully argued that the law doesn’t required a sex offender who moves from one state to the next to register in the new state when his conviction occurred prior to the passage of the law.
The decision of the court came down to a single word, ‘travels’. By using the present tense of the word in the law instead of a past tense like ‘traveled’, the legislature left an exception open for those convicted prior to the law who move across state lines. Now it becomes necessary to check past state residences for sex offender status to ensure that a prospective employee is not a sex offender in another state. Hope remains that congress will modify the law at some time in the future to close this loophole discovered by Thomas Carr and his attorney.
Carr was sentenced to 30 months in jail for violation of the SORNA law and the Obama administration had hope that the Supreme Court justices saw the administration’s interruption of the law as correct and would let the sentencing stand. Carr is now free and dissension by 3 judges was a warning to many that thousands of sex offenders do not need to register in their current state of residence because of the court decisions.