Summit County, Ohio, judges will join their counterparts in at least four other Ohio counties in refusing to enforce provisions of the state’s new, tougher sex-offender registration law, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The eight judges of Summit’s general trial division will act this week to either issue a stay to block all of the affected cases from moving forward or issue a preliminary injunction in each case they hear. At issue are a host of potential contradictions and constitutional questions arising from the state legislature’s attempt to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
Ohio is one of the first to raise its standards to comply with the federal law, which mandates that states act by 2009. But the federal government has yet to issue its final guidelines for adhering to the law. Other states have contemplated not following the federal edict, which could put them in line to lose grant money. Ohio’s law, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, changes the registration requirements for some sex offenders. The state mailed notices about the law to 19,000 offenders, one local judge said. The law applies retroactively to people whose cases have been through the courts. Critics argue that the new law amounts to added punishment, which defense attorneys say is double jeopardy.