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NY: A Jury Rejected the Charges, but He Still Has to Register As a Sex Offender for Life

[ 4/30/18]

New York’s highest court says accusations can be considered for registration purposes even when the defendant was acquitted.

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected. So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.

__________’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn, where her uncle lived, when she was 11. _____ denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.

The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but it differed in key details from the account she gave police. A.B. told her brother _____ had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit.” By contrast, she told police _____ had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes. A detective testified that _____ had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which _____ denied making.

The jurors struggled to make sense of these conflicting accounts. Since there was no physical evidence, the case came down to a question of whether to believe A.B. or _____ . During three days of deliberations, the jurors sent the judge three notes indicating that they were deadlocked. Each time he told them to keep deliberating.

Finally the jurors emerged with a verdict that seemed to split the difference between those inclined to believe _____ and those inclined to believe A.B. They found _____ guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies: first-degree rape, based on the allegation of penetrative sex, and two counts of a first-degree sexual act, based on allegations that he performed oral sex on the girl and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

During a post-trial hearing, the judge nevertheless assumed that _____ had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two under New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), which triggers lifetime registration. Had the judge considered just the crime of which _____ was convicted, he would have been assigned to risk level one, which requires registration for 20 years.*

Read more

Related links:

The Court of Appeals believes the victim (even when the jury doesn’t) [ 4/29/18]




Join the discussion


    This title is misleading… It got me rather upset at first, but since I read the article, I am still worried by the courts decision, but its not as reckless as this title seems.

    The accused was charged with 1 misdemeanor and 3 felonies, all of which are registerable offenses in the state of new york. The lower court then found him to be a level 2 offender using the acquitted crimes as part of the reason why since SORA only required clear and convincing evidence not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. “It is possible, in other words, for an alleged crime to figure in a defendant’s risk level even when there is not enough evidence for a guilty verdict.”

    So the acquitted charges effect his level, which effected his registration time, not the registration itself. Which still seems it should be unconstitutional and ill hope is appealed to SCOTUS.

    • MatthewLL

      The principle here is critical, that one can be made to register without being convicted of a crime. If registration is not punishment and only regulatory, then one can create a process that puts people on a registry based on allegations, not convictions. There is no due process violation here to rely on other than facts, because registration is regulatory. Just need to establish a standard of probable cause, not that used for criminal prosecutions. This is a terrible idea and you should be frightened. We all should be.

      There are groups out there right now who believe that sex offenses are different than any other crime (including murder) and requires special rules of evidence and procedure. Once we go down that path, we really have eroded our constitutional protections.

      Soon we will have two new processes, in addition to the criminal proceedings we now have: 1) for criminal charging and prosecuting of sex crimes with their own rules of evidence and standards for determining guilt, perhaps with special court rooms, 2) a registration process where allegations can be used to place individuals on a public registry, so that the public can guard against these people who may be dangerous, with no conviction required.

      I am afraid we have already started down this road. Hope the SCOTUS takes this up and strikes down this concept.


        The only problem is that he was convicted of a registerable offense. His level was raised for non convicted crimes just as sentencing can use unconvicted crimes in ny…

        • MatthewLL

          Yes, he was convicted of a registerable offense, but will be required to register after that period expires for offenses for which he was not convicted. The judge used evidence rejected by the jury when it acquitted to impose registration requirements above that of the offense for which he was convicted. That is the due process violation in my mind, and the principle the decent is talking about in the opinion.

  2. Lake County

    Really? Is this a Twilight Zone movie? How is this possible? How can all the attorneys out there not see what a slippery slope this is with the constitution?

    • We can't even travel to NY! Danger Alert

      Sounds like they would take an RC if pulled over and for visiting or traveling through post on NY’s board site just cuz or you already are, you need to be on our’s for past history or just cause…or because we can do this! No crime no I’ll actions, that’s next.
      I wonder about Scotus, they dont seem interested insights for RC’s and just hand it back to the lower courts from recent past history. Hope I am wrong. Man, just like Florida, what these u.s. states coming to? Wonder if NY State will ever get a Tiered Reg?
      Took Cali long enough…progressive state? Really??

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