OK Court Ruling Could Remove Thousands From Sex Offender Registry

Wednesday, June 26th 2013, 6:42 pm

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of sex offenders will be removed from the Oklahoma sex offender registry.

A ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court will change the sex offender registration rules for everyone convicted before 2007. In the ruling, the court said a 2007 law that lengthened the time most sex offenders are required to register cannot be applied retroactively.

Fifteen years ago, Brad Crawford was convicted of a sex crime involving a 15-year-old girl. His original sentence required him to register as a sex offender for 10 years. But the 2007 law changed that and put him on the lifetime registry.

"It's like a persecution. It's hard to keep a job. It's hard to have a job it's hard to live any particular place," said Crawford.

Brad even has a court order to remove him from the registry. Over the past two years, lower courts have ruled the DOC couldn't apply the 2007 law to those convicted before then.

"Once you commit a crime and you serve your time it should be over with," said Crawford. "They should not go on and on and on."

But the Department of Corrections argued the registration requirement was not a criminal punishment, but an administrative sanction. Still late Tuesday the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the rules couldn't be changed after a conviction.

"I think the Supreme Court opinion is a landmark opinion," said Attorney David Slane.

Slane represents Crawford and about 450 other offenders he says should be taken off the registry. Statewide, Slane estimates 3,000 to 4,000 offenders will be removed.

"I think it's going to be probably half of the people on there will be eligible is my best guess," said Slane.

A spokesperson from the DOC says they are reviewing the ruling and will soon begin going through the registry and removing offenders who fit the criteria.