The state Supreme Court has heard the arguments for a developmentally disabled teenager accused of the sexual assault of his adoptive sister, that he shouldn’t be placed on the sex offender registry when he is an adult.
The lower judge that handled his case ordered that he be placed on the juvenile sex offender registry, which is not made public. The teen’s attorney, Patricia Harrison, argues state law will still put him on the adult registry.
“The statute requires that he be placed on that registry regardless of whether the juvenile judge felt that was appropriate,” Harrison said.
Harrison says the state law violates both the state and federal constitutions, arguing that for him to wind up on the adult registry would be an adult penalty imposed in a juvenile case, and would represent a cruel and unusual punishment.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Laudano said the teenager cannot challenge that law since it wasn’t imposed on him by the judge. He also argues the law is constitutional because it isn’t about punishment, but about protecting the public.
“In this case protection of the public from individuals who by a finding of age and a qualifying delinquent act pose a serious risk to public safety,” said Laudano.
The court could issue a ruling at any time. Its decision could have effects on other cases in which children are accused of serious sex crimes.