Appeals Court Weighs Request for Removal From Sex Offender Registry
State contends federal law requires registering even if Indiana doesn't
Attorney Cara Wieneke (r) before the Indiana Court of Appeals. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
The Indiana Court of Appeals will decide whether a Hamilton County man can take his name off Indiana's sex-offender registry.
Thomas Andrews was convicted of rape and abuse of a child in Massachusetts -- 28 years ago, long before either Massachusetts or Indiana had a sex-offender registry. 13 years after he moved to Indiana, authorities told him he had to register. The state conceded in court, apparently for the first time, that the Indiana law doesn't apply. But deputy attorney general Frances Barrow argues a federal law passed in 2009 requires him to check in anyway.
Attorney Cara Wieneke contends even if the federal law applies, federal authorities would have to enforce it, and wouldn't have any grounds to do so unless Andrews moved to a new address.
Andrews unsuccessfully asked a Hamilton County judge to remove him from the registry last year after learning of a 2009 Indiana Supreme Court ruling that the law can't be applied retroactively. Wieneke says Andrews' status as a registered sex offender limits his ability to travel and prevents him from holding certain jobs.
The three-judge appeals panel traveled to I-U-P-U-I to hear the case before an audience of law students. There's no indication of when the court will rule.