State v. Johnson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 801 S.E.2d 123 (2017)

Held: 
Reversed and remanded in part

as to lifetime sex offender registry

Note that this summary focuses only on that portion of the opinion that addresses sex offender registration

  • Facts: Defendant was convicted in 3 separate judgments, each one representing a specific incident between himself and his 10-year-old stepson, of sex offense with a child and sex activity by a substitute parent (6 counts total). Defendant received 3 consecutive sentences of 300-420 months imprisonment, lifetime sex offender registration, and enrollment in lifetime satellite based monitoring (SBM).
  • Sex offender registration assists law enforcement in the protection of the public from persons convicted of sex offenses or certain other offenses committed against minors (G.S. 14-208.5; see also 14-208.6A). A person with a “reportable conviction” registers for at least 30 years (14-208.7), and a person who is a recidivist, convicted of an aggravated offense, or is classified as a sexually violent offender registers for life (14-208.23). G.S. 14-208.6(1a)(ii) allows an offense to be aggravated if it includes “engaging in a sexual act involving vaginal, anal, or oral penetration with a victim who is less than 12 years old” (emphasis added).
  • When determining whether an offense is an aggravated offense, the court looks to the elements of the convicted offense and not the underlying facts. Although “reportable convictions,” neither sexual offense with a child nor sexual activity by a substitute parent are aggravated offenses. Neither statute requires the element that the victim be less than 12 years old. Additionally, neither crime requires the element of penetration. 
Category:
Criminal Cases with Application to Child Welfare
Stage:
Sex Offender Registry
Topic:
Aggravated Offense
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