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Appellate court upholds man's sentence for failing to register

A state appellate court ruled on June 17 that a New Jersey man who failed to register as a sex offender after being released in 2011 was given an appropriate sentence. According to the report, the man, age 58, contended that the law was upgraded after he was convicted, meaning that the upgrade in the severity of the penalties was unfair.

The man was reportedly convicted of aggravated sexual assault and two counts each of child endangerment and sexual assault in 1996. The penalty for failing to register as a sex offender once the convicted person leaves jail was not added until 2007. In 2012, the man was indicted on a charge for failing to register. Since New Jersey does not allow penalties to be retroactively applied, the man argued that the penalties should not be applied to him.

He was ultimately sentenced to five years' probation after he pleaded guilty on the outcome of the appeal. The two-judge panel stated that the penalties were appropriate because failure to register as a sex offender was a new crime. This new crime was, according to the appellate court, committed in 2011, four years after the law was changed. Thus, they stated that the law was changed before the crime was committed.

Someone who is accused of committing sex crimes faces severe punishments as well as a disruption of their personal lives. If they are convicted and required to register as a sex offender, their private and financial lives may also be disrupted. An attorney may be able to help their client fight the accusations if they were unsubstantiated. If there is evidence that the sex crime did occur, the attorney may be able to negotiate a lighter sentence and reduce the amount of time their client spends on the registry.

Source: NJ.com, "Convicted NJ sex offender loses fight over Megan's Law registration", MaryAnn Spoto, June 17, 2014

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