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August 2, 2013
Sex offenders in Maryland are using a recent court ruling to take back their anonymity. Now the state may have no choice but to remove nearly a quarter of the 8,000 names on the Maryland sex offender registry.
Last month Maryland resident Robert Haines Jr., named only ”John Doe” in court filings, became the first to successfully have his name removed from the state’s sex offender registry. The Haines case argued that his placement on the list was unconstitutional since his crimes were committed before a registry even existed. The former teacher committed the crimes in 1983. The registry was first established in 1995.
According to the court, it was a form of retroactive punishment, which is against Maryland law. Though Haines won the case - and his mug shot was quietly taken down – the Attorney General’s office has already filed an appeal against the ruling. However, a handful of other appeals have already been filed seeking a similar outcome.
While some people could be removed from the list entirely, others may have restrictions tweaked. The state is now trying to make sure each case must be argued on its own merit. Brenda Jones advocates against a sex offender registry. “What we’re objecting to…is that they're put on a registry which presents to the public they did something wrong yesterday,” Jones said.
Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger has lobbied in favor of tighter restrictions for sex offenders in Maryland. “I think if there’s a place to put up a fight, it's here,” Shellenberger said. “We’re talking about convicted sex offenders, child abusers and rapists.” ..Source..w/Video by Fox45.com