Monday, June 2, 2008

Adam Walsh Law, in Ohio


{¶11} Having reviewed S.B. 10, we do not find a legislative intent to impose
punishment through the reclassification and registration process. As with prior versions of R.C. Chapter 2950, we believe the legislature intended to enact a civil, regulatory scheme rather than to impose criminal punishment. The new law includes a declaration about the risk of recidivism posed by sex offenders. R.C. 2950.02(A). It also contains a declaration that its various requirements are intended to protect the safety and welfare of the population. R.C. 2950.02(B). The General Assembly further declared that the release or exchange of information about sex offenders is not punitive. Id. We note too that S.B. 10 grants King a right to a hearing to contest her reclassification, but the legislation fails to
provide her with a right to appointed counsel. It also states that the hearing shall be governed by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. These facts bolster our belief that the legislature intended a civil, non-punitive proceeding. Smith v. Doe (2003), 538 U.S. 84, 96.

1On its face, the present proceeding is a civil action commenced by King to
challenge the Attorney General’s administrative reclassification of her as a Tier II offender. Although S.B. 10 provides King with a right to a hearing, the legislation does not authorize the appointment of counsel. Therefore, King has no statutory right to counsel under S.B. 10.

{¶6} In State v. Cook, 83 Ohio St.3d 404, 1998-Ohio-291, the Ohio Supreme
Court held that the registration and notification requirements in R.C. Chapter 2950 are nonpunitive in purpose and effect. Id. at 414-423. Thereafter, in State v. Williams, 88 Ohio St.3d 513, 2000-Ohio-428, the court reaffirmed its view that R.C. Chapter 2950 is “neither ‘criminal,’ nor a statute that inflicts punishment[.]” Id. at 528. More recently, in State v.
Wilson, 113 Ohio St.3d 382, 2007-Ohio-2202, the court again concluded that “sexoffender-classification proceedings under R.C. Chapter 2950 are civil in nature[.]” Id. at 389. Wilson produced a three-member dissent opining that the restrictions imposed under R.C. Chapter 2950 have become more onerous since Cook and should be viewed as “part of the punishment that is imposed as a result of the offender’s actions.” Id. at 392.

Basically this says that SB 10 does not inflict punishment on a sex offender, and they cannot get the state to pay for thier attorney
~Cry Me A River A Sex Offender!~

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