I wanted to write and let our blog readers know of a successful resolution today in a petition we filed on behalf of our client to Deregister as a Sex Offender in Colorado. Despite the District Attorney’s objection, the court granted our petition, allowing our client to stop registration. This is a great result, given the harsh consequences of Colorado’s sex offender designation. Let’s talk about today’s Sex Offender DeRegistration success.
What Judges Want to Hear at Sex Offender DeRegistration Hearings
Let me detail some of the court’s considerations at today’s hearing, and for use at a future hearing you may be involved with. First courts in Adams and Jefferson County will consider input from a victim, the prosecutor, a parole officer, a probation officer and any treatment professionals. Getting any of these persons on-board with your request to deregister will be super helpful, since judges don’t like to make a decision without some underlying support (a safety net). It is much safer for their careers.
Next, judges in Denver and Douglas County will consider a balance of the public’s right to know there is a sex offender nearby, with the sex offender’s right to privacy. This means that the offender should provide evidence that the registration is hurting him / her somehow. If there are no problems associated with the public knowing of the sex offender’s crime, why should the judge fix that issue? So, identifying problems with social standing, neighbors, job applications and housing, is very helpful. Next, it is good to show the court why the public does not need to know an offender is nearby. This is largely related to risk minimization.
How to Establish Low Risk to Reoffend
On the subject of risk, people should know that the court’s decision is largely based on an offender’s risk to the community. We find it helpful to have a risk assessment completed prior to the hearing. If it looks good, we furnish it to the District Attorney and judge. Also, community support in the form of letters or people present to testify can address risk. For example, “I have known Rick for the last 12 years and he has never displayed any unhealthy interest in kids. I would trust him with my children.” Having people of standing in the community say these things or come to court is powerful. Sex offenders should consider getting to know some people of importance in hopes one day they can write a letter.
Finally, the passage of time is important. It gives the judge a history of lawful compliance to examine. If a person has not reoffended in 5 or 10 years, chances are they will not do so again. If an offender is still getting in trouble, there is a good chance they will continue to get in trouble (and reoffend sexually and make the judge look bad). A person should not waste their time or the court’s time if they have not been able to stay out of trouble with the law (both with sexual and nonsexual offenses).
We work on dozens of Petitions to Deregister in Arapahoe County and across Colorado each year. If you think you are statutorily able to Petition a court to deregister as a sex offender, contact one of our lawyers today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.