People v. Jones, 2017 IL App (1st) 143718 (July). Episode 406 (Duration 8:56)
This SORA conviction is reversed because the state failed to prove defendant had a duty to register.
Defendant was arrested on a warrant and tells police he was homeless and unaware that he was required to register weekly.
Defendant also indicated to he was not up to date with his registration.
Defendant first registered in 2012 and reported being homeless. That’s when they told him he had to register weekly. He never registered again.
SORA was designed to aid law enforcement agencies in monitoring the whereabouts of sexual offenders by allowing “ready access to crucial information” about their residency and movements.
The plain language of SORA makes clear that the duty to report as a sex offender follows from the duty to register as a sex offender:
If one is not required to register as a sex offender, then one does not have a duty to report. See 730 ILCS 150/10.
Defendant’s original conviction was for attempt rape entered in 1979.
Section 7 of SORA states that sex offenders who have not been adjudicated to be sexually dangerous, and who are not also labeled sexual predators, are required to register for a period of 10 years after conviction or adjudication,
“if not confined to a penal institution, hospital or any other institution or facility, and if confined, for a period of 10 years after parole, discharge or release from any such facility.”
A person who is convicted of attempt criminal sexual assault after July 1, 1999, is labeled a “sex offender” as well as a “sexual predator.” 730 ILCS 150/2(E)(1).
As defendant was convicted of attempt rape in 1979, he is labeled only as a “sex offender” and, thus, only had a ten year registration requirement. 730 ILCS 150/2(A)(1)(a), (B)(1).
Sexual predators, as well as offenders who have been adjudicated as “sexually dangerous” or “sexually violent” are required to register for life. 730 ILCS 150/7.
Defendant was charged with one count of violation of section 6 of SORA (730 ILCS 150/6 ) in that,
“having been previously convicted of attempt criminal sexual assault under case No. 78-5878, he lacked a fixed residence and failed to report weekly with the Robbins police department.”
Section 6 imposes on those required to register a duty to report periodically to the law enforcement agency with whom they last registered.
“Any person who lacks a fixed residence” is required to report weekly. “In order to sustain a conviction under section 6 of the Act, the State must generally prove that
(1) defendant was subject to the reporting requirements under the Act, and
(2) defendant knowingly failed to report in person at the requisite reporting agency.”
See 730 ILCS 150/6.
Defendant’s point is that the State did not prove that he was still required to register the day he was arrested. That day was long after the 10 years period expired on September 4, 1989.
The State says the 10-year registration period extended beyond September 4, 1989 and encompassed the time period between July 5, 2012, and defendant’s arrest on January 2, 2013, because the period was tolled by defendant’s continuous confinement following his 1979 conviction.
His Criminal History
Indeed, Defendant was convicted of murder and, on January 21, 1981, was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment. Subsequently, defendant was convicted of a violation of probation in the 1979 attempt rape case and sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment. While imprisoned, defendant was twice convicted of aggravated battery; on November 9, 1995, he was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment, and on June 11, 1999, he was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment. He was ultimately released from Department of Corrections custody on October 23, 2003.
This information arguably could have been used to prove that defendant still had a duty to register and report on July 5, 2012, given the fact that a sex offender’s duty to register is tolled by confinement.
However, The stated did not admit any of defendant’s criminal history which would have established that he was in prison after 1979 and his registration period was tolled.
A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is not a question of what the State could have proved at trial; it is a question of what the State actually proved at trial. Here, the State failed to provide any information regarding when or if defendant’s registration period was tolled due to reconfinement.
Officer Walker testified that she registered defendant on June 29, 2012, and had done so in the past but provided no explanation as to why defendant’s underlying felony, listed on his SORA form as a conviction for attempt rape on February 16, 1981, required him to register on July 5, 2012.
Even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we find that no rational trier of fact could have found that defendant was still subject to the reporting requirements of SORA.
Where a sex offender’s duty to register has been tolled by imprisonment or extended by a subsequent conviction, the State should provide evidence of such at trial.
It failed to do so.
The court said the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was still subject to the reporting requirements of SORA nearly 33 years after his underlying conviction for attempt rape from 1979.