SC: Sex offenders begin applying to get off South Carolina registry

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Sex offenders have begun petitioning the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to be removed from the state sex offender registry, according to a spokesperson with the department.

Offenders are now able to apply to be removed from the registry after legislation signed by Gov. Henry McMaster in late May set up parameters to do so.

The bill was in response to a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling that said it was unconstitutional for the state not to have a process that allows sex offenders to be removed from the registry. The ruling gave the state a June 9 deadline to pass a bill.

If the legislation had not been passed, lawmakers said that all offenders would have immediately been able to ask to be removed from the registry.

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said in a statement to News13 that the law balances the rights of survivors and offenders.

“By closely aligning the new requirements for the sex offender registry to the federal SORNA system, the legislature has provided a sense of consistency to survivors while also meeting the constitutional rights of offenders,” the statement reads. “It is SCCADVASA’s hope that care is taken in providing reasonable notice of the process and outcome to individual survivors when offenders request removal from the registry.”

 Offenders classified under Tier I must wait at least 15 years after being added to the registry to petition the state to be removed. Tier II offenders must wait at least 25 years, and Tier III offenders must wait at least 30 years after being released from prison without supervision.

Tier I offenders include those convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, incest, buggery or voyeurism, among other charges.

Tier II offenses include third-degree criminal sexual conduct, engaging a child for sexual performance, promoting sexual performance by a child, trafficking and second and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors, among other charges.

Tier III offenses include first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors, kidnapping of a person under the age of 18, marital rape and sexual battery of a spouse.

 In order to petition to be removed, applicants must provide two sets of fingerprints, pay a non-refundable $250 filing fee, provide all sentencing documents and prove that they completed all the sex offender treatment programs they were required to undergo. Applicants must also confirm that they haven’t been convicted of failing to register as a sex offender within the last decade.

SLED will make a decision within 120 days on whether an offender will be removed. If denied, an applicant has to wait five years before applying again.


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Betting the denial rate will be upwards of 90%.

I hope CA can use this ruling to improve the current system.

Even better, we can go back to precident and bring back Kelly v Municipal so that 1203.4 can eliminate registration.

Odd that some SC registrants can ” petition for removal” when many pre act offenders were not given the opportunity to contest the regimes application to them in the first place. I am happy for those who will take up the opportunity to petition for removal in SC. The only reason( besides the lack of efficacy) for states to begin permitting removal is the cost of the registration regime! While many will focus on the dollars that come from state’s budgets to maintain the infrastructure and will be saved by shrinking the list, there are also opportunity costs to consider. It was the opportunity costs lost to state citizens that was the most costly to collective liberty.

I am concerned that the state of South Carolina is requiring registrants to pay a fee of $250 to apply for removal from the registry. There may be many individuals who qualify for removal, but are not able to pay $250. Is anyone else bothered by this? And do you think ACSOL should try to help?

I hope this will eventually come to Texas

In SC the standard fee for expungement is $250. According to a sheriff’s office I spoke to the burden for investigating the petition for removal is being born by solicitor’s offices. The high fee is being used to add more personnel in the solicitor’s office to handle these cases.
Set aside the fee for a moment. If you read guidance sent to State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) state law changes to reclassification of tiers and removal are subserviant to FEDERAL SORNA law and classification. In other words the law is window dressing to avoid any ex post facto lawsuits and straight constitution challenges. But this whole witch hunt was started by sitting governor Henry Dargan McMaster when he was AG and admitted in letters to state senators he knew some of his prosecutions were questionable under SC Constitution Art 3 sub 33 finally changed June 9th 2009. CYA folks…politics at its best!!!!

This law is window dressing because in the guidance to the State Law Enforcement Division it says any reclassification of tiers are subject to federal Sorna rules. The high fee is the same as the standard fee being charged for expungment of charges in SC.

Anyone have a sense of how many offenders, proportionally, fall in each tier? We have tiers in Michigan, but basically only minors—and a few minors at that—fall in Tier 1, and maybe 25% of the rest are in Tier 2, with the remaining 75% all in Tier 3 with no hope of leaving the registry. Fortunately, registry removal in Michigan appears automatic once you hit your expiration date, but it applies to so few registrants it’s just not useful for so many registrants here. I’ve checked the law a bit, but the terms we use for sex offenses are so vague that I can’t figure out how the chips fall in SC.

Its interesting how here in Michigan that I was convicted of 3rd degree csc and retroactively classified as tier 3, yet in SC the same thing is a tier 1.

We need an update on this. It’s been six months…. Has anyone successfully petitioned to get off the registry in South Carolina? My intel says that all petitions are being denied. Can anyone confirm this?

I hope this makes its way to Texas. Does any know if that’s in the works?

I can’t wait until Florida is forced to implment a tiered system and a reasonable way to be petition to be removed from their bloated list!