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Local man's case illustrates complexity of sex offender registry after Supreme Court ruling

10-30-2013 Oklahoma:

While officials with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections review whether over 7,000 criminals will remain on the state's sex offender registry following a July Supreme Court decision, one Comanche County man is protesting a conviction he received locally for violating the Oklahoma Sex Offender Act.

Edward D. Turner, 49, received a letter Oct. 7 stating he had been removed from the sex offender registry in Oklahoma after the DOC reviewed his case and determined he had been kept on the list longer than statute allowsa process started after the June 25 decision in Starkey v. Oklahoma Department of Corrections. By Friday, Turner had filed three motions requesting a court-appointed attorney, free copies of court records, and permission to withdraw his guilty plea out-of-time.

Law enforcement officers and legal professionals have been anticipating the effects of the ruling in Starkey's appeal. Starkey moved to Oklahoma after pleading no contest to one count of sexual assault of a 15-year-old in Texas.

The sentence required him to register for 10 years following his release from prison, but in the years following his conviction, the laws related to sex offender registration changed several times. Starkey argued he was illegally kept on the sex offender registry for longer than 10 yearslike Turner when DOC applied new statutes to his case retroactively rather than subjecting him to the laws in effect at the time of conviction.

The court sided with Starkey and ruled that Starkey's registration period should have ended in 2008. Now, the DOC web site states that officials are reviewing each of the over 7,000 sex offenders in Oklahoma to remove those no longer subject to the Oklahoma SORA.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Jerry Massie said that as of Friday, a little over 1,300 registrants had been reviewed resulting in 679 offenders being removed.

"It's a slow process, and there's over 7,000 to perform," Massie said. "We have to look at each case and determine what laws were in effect at the time the offender was sentenced, when certain revisions to the law happened and how they might be impacted by the Starkey case."

Massie said one of the areas of most concern is how the review might play into cases in which a registrant has been charged or convicted for failure to properly register when he or she was not required to, like Turner.

"I was illegally charged with a felony for not complying with Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act where none applied pursuant to new Oklahoma Supreme Court decision of Starkey v. Oklahoma Department of Corrections," he wrote. "Detective Nancy Lombardo of Comanche County acting with and for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections retroactively applied the 2007 amended scheme of OSORA to Mr. Turner."

To read the full story requires Sign-in at original source: ..Source.. by Malinda Rust

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