ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– A Maryland law requiring sex offenders to register for monitoring is now being called into question. A state court already ordered one offender’s name off the list.

Monique Griego has more on the effects of the decision.

This week, Maryland’s highest court ruled in favor of a convicted sex offender who wanted his name taken off the state registry, which monitors people convicted of sex crimes.

Now victims’ advocates like Adam Rosenberg fear more names could be removed.

“I think a lot of people in the victim’s community–members, parents–rely on the sex offender registry to know who’s in their neighborhood,” Rosenberg said.

The court’s decision said the man should not have to register because he committed the crime before the registry existed. The Constitution doesn’t allow retroactive punishment.

“I think the Court of Appeals really thought about this as a legal issue instead of a political issue,” said defense attorney Chris Wheatcroft.

The case calls into question a 2010 law prompted by the murder of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell. Sarah’s killer, Thomas Leggs, committed six other crimes against women and girls but he was somehow able to slip through state loopholes. The law tightened restrictions on sex offenders and required more to be registered.

“People on the registry have pretty stringent requirements for monitoring, for reporting to police, for reporting to agencies whenever they travel or move,” said Wheatcroft.

This latest decision doesn’t reserve the law. Right now, it only applies to one offender but it does open the door to future challenges.

“Sex offenders are a category of people who we want to know where they live so we can do what’s necessary to keep our children safe,” said Rosenberg.

The ruling is under review by Maryland’s attorney general. It could lead to an appeal although one hasn’t been officially declared yet.


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