The Supreme Court of Oklahoma is currently hearing oral arguments which may change existing Oklahoma Sex Offender registration laws.
Online PR News – 11-February-2013 – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The present issue before the court is whether sex offenders who were convicted before the enactment of lifetime registration should have to remain on the registry. Individuals who were convicted before lifetime registration became mandatory for specific sex crimes originally believed that there was a limit to the length of time that the state could require registration. However, following the lifetime registration enactment, many sex offenders who were due to be removed from the registry or were no longer required to register suddenly found themselves back on the registry—and for life.
Oklahoma City criminal lawyer Mark Bailey has represented hundreds of sex offenders throughout his career in both private practice and while working as an attorney for Oklahoma county. The ruling, which is expected to be decided later this month, will affect a number of Bailey’s clients whose appeals are currently pending before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
"These citizens have paid for their crimes, and when they were convicted, they understood that state-mandated registration would be a part of life," sex crimes attorney Bailey said. "But to retroactively force people back onto the registry, or to require registration for people who never believed registration was part of their conviction, it’s not just unfair—it’s unconstitutional."
Proponents of the lifetime registration say that the retroactive effects of the law are not in violation of either the Oklahoma or United States Constitution, because the law is not really a ‘punishment.’ Those who favor the law also voice public safety concerns if some sex offenders are allowed to be removed from the registry.
"I understand the concerns that some people have, but it doesn’t stop the fact that my clients, and others like them, have had the rug pulled out from underneath their feet," said Bailey. "The law should be equal for everyone."
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