Did you know that about one in four Maryland sex offenders could be eligible to have their names removed from the state’s list after a recent courtroom ruling? If you are one of the large number of sex offenders who were convicted of sex crimes before October of 1995, you could qualify to have your name removed from the state’s registry. The reason: The database was established in October 1995. Older crimes are no longer eligible for inclusion on that list.
In a ruling against state officials, a Court of Appeals has decided that older cases must be purged from the state’s databases. State administrators had argued that federal law mandated retroactive inclusion of certain sex crimes. Attorneys for two men who had sued the state say that the decision could have major ramifications for convicted sex crimes offenders throughout the state. Removing offenders’ names from the sex crimes registry could help them obtain better housing, preferable jobs and a variety of other everyday benefits that many of us take for granted. In many cases, those offenders were required to register for life — a situation that definitely imposed hardship.
Victims’ rights advocates say they are disappointed at the ruling, but they are optimistic that other methods will be developed for tracking offenders. The registry will only apply to a percentage of offenders, thanks to the recent ruling. These advocates say they intend to find other ways to identify those convicted of sexual misconduct in the community.
This revolutionary change could provide a significant amount of legal and financial relief for those who have been unfairly included on the sex offender registry. Imagine being able to pass background checks again — and get the job or housing option your have been wanting! If you qualify for removal, you could get your life back and stop having to worry about the obligations that come along with moving to a new neighborhood. The sex offender registry should be reserved for those who fit current guidelines, not those who were added through the retroactive process.
Source: The Washington Post, “Maryland Appeals Court restricts who can be listed on state’s sex-offender registry” Ian Duncan, Jul. 11, 2014