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Man failed to register, but he wasn't a sex offender

1-7-2012 Arkansas:

Michael P. Howard's case was an unusual one. Twice in four months he was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, even though he'd never been convicted of a sexual offense.

This week in Baxter County Circuit Court, Prosecutor Ron Kincade reduced the charges against the 30-year-old Howard to obstruction of governmental operations and agreed to a year's probation.

Kincade told the court that while Howard did have a battery conviction in Missouri, "he has never been convicted of any sex offense."

"There is no criminal history of a sexual offense of any kind," said the prosecutor.

However, Kincade said Missouri has "a crazy rule about battery" — or certain battery offenses — that require the person convicted to register with the state. He told the court that under Arkansas statutes, any offender required to register in another state must register in Arkansas as well, yet the only registration system Arkansas has is for sex offenders.

When local authorities discovered Howard was required to register in Missouri and had not registered when he moved into Baxter County, he was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in November 2010 and again in February 2011, even though he was not a sex offender.

Under the amended charge, Howard, who now lives at Booneville, was placed on one year's probation, and in each case he was fined $500 plus $420 in costs and fees. ..Source.. by THOMAS GARRETT

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