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OK: Court To Hear Sex Offender Registry Case.

May 21, 2002

Case Could Affect Oklahoma Law

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider a constitutional challenge to some registries of known sex offenders, the second case the court will hear involving lists meant to keep tabs on potentially dangerous sex criminals.

The court said it will hear an appeal from Connecticut, where a federal judge struck down the state's sex offender registry last year. The judge found that the law violated the constitutional rights of past offenders, because their names were placed on the list without a chance to prove they are no longer dangerous to society.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, and the registry is no longer publicly available.

The case could affect more than 20 states, including Oklahoma, with similar laws requiring community notification based on the offender's record rather than an individual evaluation of his or her current likelihood to repeat the crime.

A high court ruling against Connecticut could force states to hold separate hearings for sex criminals to assess whether their names, addresses or other identifying information will be made public.

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Source: 2002 Channel 5 News