Sex offenses are particular criminal issues that legislatures in North Carolina and around the country have taken a harsh stance against. Not only have the state lawmakers established fines and penalties, but continuing public safety is a serious issue as well. This has led to establishment of a sex offender roster of convicted defendants after their case is finally adjudicated with a stipulation of timely reporting compliance with little recourse for removal. However, the neighboring state of South Carolina may have just encouraged altering that policy for some states.
Potential due process violations
At issue with the South Carolina law is the potential removal from Sex Offender Registry publication for those convicted. The South Carolina law only made allowance for removal when a decision has been reversed or vacated unless the convicted offender receives a full pardon for their crime. Additionally, the pardon must state specifically that the legal matter is directly related to the sex offense conviction. North Carolina law allows for petitioning for removal after 10 years with a 30-year maximum registry requirement.
Implications of the ruling
The state high court ruling will now require legislators to revisit the wording of the statute with respect to removal from the sex offender list for those who now pose no true risk to the community. Many convicted offenders were actually prosecuted in borderline cases with little interaction. The South Carolina law has actually been recognized as the most stringent in the nation, and now state lawmakers can adjust the statute to allow for reasonable due process for the convicted.
It is yet unclear if this court ruling will impact the law in any other states that have made little allowance for removal via the appeals process. Certain laws are currently under reevaluation in many states, and this may be one of those that will be altered for others due to this decision.