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Sewell v State

This decision ends with absurd results. Effectively the court makes a specific address unconstitutional if certain persons live there. When an earlier court has exempted these certain persons from operation of the law. There is no public safety value in this decision, at best it is vindictive and stalks these persons in an effort to deny them their civil rights (see 42 sec 1983, 1985(3), 1982). ACLU where are you?

8-28-2012 Indiana:

Sewell v State
973 N.E.2d 96 (2012)

Anthony Mark Sewell ("Sewell") appeals his conviction of committing a sex offender residency offense1 as a Class D felony, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the conviction violated the prohibition against ex post facto provisions in both the federal and state constitutions. We affirm.

Sewell was convicted of child molesting as a Class B felony in 2001. He was released from the Department of Correction in 2007 and placed on probation. Sewell, as an offender against children, was required to register his address with law enforcement. By July 2011, Sewell had registered seventeen times with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department ("SCSD"). Each time Sewell registered, the Shelby County Sex Offender Registry Clerk ("Registry worker") would check Sewell's address against a computerized map, which indicated the distance from that address to any known addresses of churches, schools, or other locations having youth program centers. Sewell was also given an information packet in which his registry obligations were discussed. The packet included the explanation that Sewell was not allowed to spend more than two nights within any thirty-day period in a residence that was within 1,000 feet of a youth program center. A Registry worker would orally explain the information to Sewell each time he registered. Sewell would then initial and sign the information packet in the presence of a Registry worker, who countersigned the form.

In June 2011, Sewell went to the SCSD registry and informed them that he intended to move to 42 West Brookville Road in Fountaintown. A Registry worker checked the address against the computerized map and informed Sewell that his proposed residential address was within 1,000 feet of a church. That church, the Community Church of Fountaintown, was within 1,000 feet of 42 West Brookville Road. The Registry worker explained to Sewell that he would violate the law if he lived within 1,000 feet of the church and if the church maintained a school, day-care, or youth program center. The Registry worker told Sewell that if he could obtain a statement from the church that it did not house those facilities or activities, he might be able to reside within 1,000 feet of the church's property. Sewell decided not to change his residential registration at that time.

On July 1, 2011, Sewell returned to the SCSD registry and attempted to register 42 West Brookville Road as his residential address. Sewell had a letter from Pastor Michael Smith of the church, which included the statement that the church did not have a day-care or school on the property. Because the letter made no mention of youth programs, the Registry worker called the church to inquire about the church's operations. In that telephone call, Pastor Smith verified that the church had a youth program for children younger than eighteen years of age on Sunday evenings from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Based upon that information, the Registry worker told Sewell that he could not live within 1,000 feet of the church without violating the law. Sewell disputed what the Registry worker said and produced a video-recording cell phone. The Registry worker repeated that Sewell could not live within 1,000 feet of the church without violating the law. Sewell then told the Registry worker that the rent at his present address was paid until July 3 or July 4, 2011 and that he would remain there until then.

On July 5, 2011, Sewell returned to the SCSD registry, this time with Pastor Smith. Sewell registered 42 Brookville Road as his new residential address. The Registry worker used a previous map printout to remind Sewell that the address was within 1,000 feet of a youth program center. Sewell explained that Pastor Smith came with him to clear everything up. The Registry worker replied, "Anthony it's not gonna matter if I speak with the minister or not, that address still violates the 1,000 feet" restriction. Tr. at 30. Pastor Smith went to speak to the Shelby County Sheriff. Pastor Smith recalled being confused about the reason why it was fine for Sewell, who had recently become a member of the church, to attend church services, but was prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of the church.

Pastor Smith returned to the registration desk after speaking with the sheriff. Sewell told the Registry worker that he would register the address as his temporary residence. The Registry worker informed Pastor Smith that registering the address as a temporary residence did not exempt the address from the 1,000 foot exclusion zone, and that Sewell's residence there would be a violation of the law. The Registry worker recalled telling Sewell that many other offenders who had tried the same or similar thing had been in violation of the 1,000 foot exclusion zone. Sewell registered the address as his residence nonetheless.


The prohibition against ex post facto laws applies only when a new law "`imposes a punishment for an act which was not punishable at the time it was committed; or imposes additional punishment to that then prescribed.'" Id. at 1149 (quoting Weaver, 450 U.S. at 28, 101 S.Ct. 960). The fact that an element of a crime "`draws upon antecedent facts'" does not make Indiana Code section 35-42-4-11 an ex post facto law. United States v. Hemmings, 258 F.3d 587, 594 (7th Cir.2001) (quoting Cox v. Hart, 260 U.S. 427, 435, 43 S.Ct. 154, 67 L.Ed. 332 (1922)). "The critical question in evaluating an ex post facto claim `is whether the law changes the legal consequences of acts completed before its effective date.'" United States v. Brady, 26 F.3d 282, 291 (2nd Cir.1994) (quoting Weaver, 450 U.S. at 31, 101 S.Ct. 960).
[ 973 N.E.2d 103 ]

In the present case, Sewell did not reside or own property within 1,000 feet of the church when he was convicted of child molesting. Nor has he shown that he resided in property which only later fell within a protected zone due to the establishment of a school or youth program center. Here, the law punishes the decision by Sewell, an offender against children, to take up residence within 1,000 feet of an existing youth program center. We conclude that because Sewell's residency decision occurred after the enactment of the statute, Sewell's prosecution does not violate state or federal ex post facto provisions. Affirmed.

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