The lifetime consequences of being convicted of a sex crime can be devastating. Sex offenders whose names are listed on a public registry have trouble finding jobs, places to live and social and professional contacts within the community. Unlike many criminal convictions in which an offenders pays his or her debt to society and then moves on, sex crime convictions often follow someone until the end of their days.
Of course, someone who has been convicted of a sex crime is not the most sympathetic person in the eyes of lawmakers or the public, and any scaling back of the massive sex offender registration system that may be doing more harm than good is rarely accomplished.
However, in a rare exception to the general rule, a recent Maryland court ruling will soon be having the effect of removing a number of individuals who were convicted of sex crimes long ago from the sex offender registry.
Under the ruling from the state's Court of Appeals, sex offender registration has been declared unconstitutional for those whose crimes took place before the registry was established in 1995. The state is now in the process of removing sex offenders who committed crimes before that date from the registry.
This ruling could affect a quarter of Maryland's registered sex offenders. This means that approximately 1,800 individuals will likely have to be removed from the rolls of Maryland's sex offender registry.
This ruling a very significant step for Maryland, which is considered to be among the toughest states on sex offender registration requirements.
Source: The Washington Post, Sex offender removed from Md. registry; could be first of many, June 21, 2013