Avoiding Sex Offender Registration
Devon M. LeeJuvenile Practice Coordinator(608) [email protected]What this talk will cover:
Everything you ever wanted to know about juvenile
Everything you ever wanted to know about
preventing your juvenile client from having to register as a sex offender
What you should do if the court orders your client
What this talk will not cover: Typical juvenile sex offenses
Factually consensual (“Romeo and Juliet”)
Large age spread between juvenile and victim
What do judges believe about juvenile sex offenders?
That they are pedophiles (or will be soon)
That they cannot be treated in the community
That they must be placed in DOC in order to protect
That they must be registered as sex offenders in order
That any harm caused to them by registration is
outweighed by the increased protection of the public
What do we know about juvenile sex offenders?
Adolescent sex offenders are considered more
responsive to treatment than adult sex offenders and typically do not continue re-offending into adulthood
Adolescent sex offenders have fewer numbers of
victims and engage in less serious and aggressive behaviors
Most adolescents do not have deviant sexual
What do we know about juvenile sex offenders?
Most adolescents do not meet the criteria for
Adolescent sex offenders rates for sexual re-
offenses (5-14%) are substantially less than their rates of recidivism for other delinquent behavior. Registration and Recidivism
Michael F. Caldwell, Sex Offender Registration and Recidivism Risk in Juvenile Sexual Offenders, 27
This article provides a solid background of the Sex Offender
Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and its intended
The authors cite several studies that have demonstrated that
registration of juvenile sex offenders does not lower recidivism rates. Additionally studies are highlighted that
suggest that SORNA may in fact lead to increased recidivism
due to the fact that registration leads to many barriers to re-
I just can’t get enough of this stuff…
The Massachusetts Youth Advocacy Department website has a
great bibliography of current juvenile sex offender literature:
That website is a great resource for other topics as well:
Additional information about adolescent sex offenders is available
from the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth.
Mandatory v. Discretionary Registration & Staying Registration Discretionary Registration under Wis. Stat. § 938.34(15m)
The court may require a juvenile to comply with
reporting requirements if the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for certain crimes if
– the court determines that the crime was sexually
– it would be in the interest of public protection to have
List of crimes for which juvenile court may order sex offender registration:
Delinquency finding based on violation, solicitation,
conspiracy, or attempt to commit any violation of:
§ 942.08 or 942.09 (invasion of privacy or depictions of nudity)
– §§ 943.01 - 943.15 (damage and trespass)
Required Sex Offender Registration Wis. Stat. § 301.45
(1g) Who is covered. A person shall comply with the
reporting requirements under this section if he or she meets one or more of the following criteria:
– (a) Is adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense
(bm) Is in a juvenile correctional facility for a sex
– (c) Is found not guilty due to NGI for a sex offense
*There are other statutory criteria not listed here*
What is a “sex offense?” What does registration entail?
Wis. Stat. § 301.45 lays out requirements
Failure to comply with sex offender registration
A juvenile remains on the registration for 15 years from
the date of disposition. Wis. Stat. § 301.45(5)(a)4. If the
juvenile was placed in corrections, the 15 years is
calculated from the time of discharge. Wis. Stat. §
The juvenile court can order a juvenile to register for a
lifetime. Wis. Stat. § 301.45(5)(b)3. How do I protect my client from having to register as a sex offender?
Exception to reporting requirement under Wis.
Stay of sex offender registration under Wis. Stat.
Exception to Registration Requirement Wis. Stat. § 301.45(1m)
A person is not required to register if ALL of the
– The violation did not involve sexual intercourse, either
by the use or threat of force or violence or with a victim
– At the time of the violation, the person was under 19
and was not more than 4 years older or younger than the
– It is not necessary, in the interest of public protection, to
require the person to comply with the reporting
What do I do if I think my client fits the exceptions?
Wis. Stat. § 301.45(1m)(b) allows a person to move the
court to make a determination of whether the person satisfies the criteria in § 301.45(1m)(a).
If a motion is filed, the court “shall” hold a hearing.
Evaluation by Expert
Before deciding the motion, the court may request the
person to be examined by a physician, psychologist, or other expert approved by the court. § 301.45(1m)(d).
The report shall contain an opinion regarding whether
it would be in the interest of public protection to have the person register under this section and the basis for that opinion. Hearing on the motion
At the hearing, the juvenile has the burden or proving
by clear and convincing evidence that he or she satisfies the criteria for exemption. The court may consider any of the following factors:
– The relationship between the person and the child
– Whether the violation resulted in bodily harm
– Whether the child suffers from a mental illness or deficiency
– The probability that the person will commit other violations in the future
– Any other factor that the court determines may be relevant
Stay of Sex Offender Registration State v. Cesar G., 2004 WI 61, 272 Wis. 2d 22
Wis. Stat. § 938.34(16) allows the court to stay any
of the dispositions outlined in § 938.34, including sex offender registration.
When a juvenile court enters an order mandating
registration and also enters an order staying registration, the stayed registration requirement never goes into effect if the juvenile successfully completes the dispositional order. A bit about Cesar G.
Cesar was 12 at the time of the offense
Cesar and another boy held her down and grabbed her
The other boy pulled her pants and underwear down
Cesar testified that he grabbed the victim to help her
get away and that he never touched her sexually
Factors the court should use in deciding whether to stay registration (§ 938.34(15m)(c))
The ages of the juvenile and the victim at the time
The relationship between the juvenile and the
Whether the violation resulted in bodily harm
(physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition)
Whether the victim suffered from a mental illness
or mental deficiency that rendered him or her incapable of understanding or evaluating the consequences of his or her actions
The probability that the juvenile will commit other
Any other factor that the court determines may be
How do I request a stay of registration?
In jurisdictions where it is not “automatic,”
negotiate it as part of a plea deal.
File a written motion explaining the factors the
If client will be receiving sex offender treatment,
ask for stay with review hearing upon completion of treatment. In re D.B., 2011 Ohio 2671
“When an adult engages in sexual conduct with
a child under the age of 13, it is clear which party is the offender and which is the victim But when two children under the age of 13 engage in sexual conduct with each other, each child is both an offender and a victim, and the distinction between those two terms breaks down.”
What if the court orders my client to register as a sex offender? Please stay in touch…
Staff can sign up for the juvenile listserv
Private bar attorneys can contact our juvenile
liaison Diane Rondini-Harness at (414) 266-1200 or
Call or e-mail us with questions, complaints, news,
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