Crowley v. State of Indiana, No. 21A-MI-2064 (Ind. Ct. App. 2022)
Nature of Case: In 1988, when Plaintiff was twenty years old, Plaintiff was convicted in Michigan of third degree criminal sexual conduct, defined as sexual penetration between an adult and a person at least thirteen but under sixteen years of age accomplished by force or coercion.
At the time of his conviction, neither Indiana nor Michigan had established a sex offender registry. Six years later, in 1994, both Indiana and Michigan enacted laws requiring persons convicted of certain sex crimes to register as sex offenders with local law enforcement. Indiana’s Act has been amended many times including amendments in 2001, 2006, and 2007. In 2001, Indiana extended its Act to persons convicted in another jurisdiction of a crime “substantially equivalent” to a sex crime in Indiana to register in Indiana. In 2006 the Act was further amended to include “a person who is required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction.” And in 2007 SORA was amended to provide that “a person who is required to register as a sex or violent offender in any jurisdiction shall register [in Indiana] for the period required by the other jurisdiction or the period described in this section, whichever is longer.”
In 2004, Plaintiff moved to Indiana and registered on Indiana’s sex offense registry based on his prior Michigan conviction.
Plaintiff’s now seeks removal from Indiana’s registry arguing that Indiana’s registration laws, as applied to him, violate Indiana’s ex post facto clause because a registry did not exist at the time of his conviction, either in Indiana or Michigan, and because the requirement that new residents to Indiana who have an out-of-state registration requirement must register with law enforcement upon arrival did not exist when he moved to Indiana.
Following a hearing, the trial court issued an order denying Crowley’s petition for removal from the registry, finding that “the purpose of the lifetime registration . . . serves a regulatory purpose and is non-punitive” and the requirement “is not a violation of Indiana’s ex post facto clause.” Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s holding.
Holding: The Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed the holding of the district court, concluding that on balance, application of the 2006-07 other jurisdiction registration requirement to Plaintiff does not constitute ex post facto punishment. In so holding, the Court of Appeals applied the “intent-effects test” and considered recent federal guidance in Hope v. Comm’r of Ind. Dep’t of Correction, 9 F. 4th 513, 519 (7th Cir. 2021) (Hope II).