Retroactive Application of Sex Offender Registration Reversed

The Maryland Court of Appeals recently ruled that the retroactive application of Maryland's sex offender registration law violated the Maryland Declaration of Rights prohibition against ex post facto laws. This significant decision was made in the case of John Doe v. Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, 430 Md. 535 (2013). The current version of Maryland's Sex Offender Registration law did not exist when John Doe committed his sex offense. Maryland attempted to force John Doe to register based on Maryland's new sex offender law. This law provides that the sex offender registration requirements shall be applied to sex offenses committed prior to the enactment of the law under certain circumstances. Maryland's highest court held that Maryland could not make John Doe register because he committed his offense before the law existed. This ruling could benefit many sex offenders who are being forced to comply with Maryland's new, more stringent, sex offender registration law for offenses that were committed before the law was passed. However, these registrants will probably have to obtain legal counsel and fight to get their names removed from the registry.