People v. Edwards, No. 20-01300 (NY App. Div. 2021)
Nature of Case: Defendant challenges an order determining that he is a level two risk pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). Among other things, Defendant argues that the lower court erred in refusing to grant him a downward departure from his presumptive risk level where he established that he had not reoffended for seven years between release from prison and his SORA hearing, despite being unsupervised.
Holding: The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division’s Fourth Judicial Department reversed the lower court’s determination that defendant is a level two risk pursuant to SORA, finding that the lower court erred in concluding that the defendant failed to identify and establish the existence of a mitigating factor not taken into account by the guidelines. In so holding, the Court stated that “the fact that defendant was at liberty while unsupervised for an extended period of time without any reoffending conduct is a mitigating factor not adequately taken into account by the guidelines.”