Ohio’s Requirements for Out-of-State Juvenile Offender Registrants

Tyack Law Large

By: Holly Cline

An out-of-state juvenile offender who is obligated to register in one state generally has a duty to register in Ohio.

Ohio law defines “sex offender” as a “person who * * * is adjudicated a delinquent child for committing, or has been adjudicated a delinquent child for committing any sexually oriented offense.”[1]

R.C. 2950.01(P) specifically defines an “out-of-state juvenile offender registrant” as a person who is adjudicated a delinquent child in a court in another state for committing a sexually oriented offense, who moved to and resides in Ohio, or is temporarily domiciled in Ohio for more than five days, and who has a duty under section 2950.04 or 2950.041 of the Revised Code to register in Ohio.

An out-of-state juvenile offender who is obligated to register in one state generally has a duty to register in Ohio. R.C. 2950.04(A)(4) provides:

Regardless of when the sexually oriented offense was committed, each person who is * * * adjudicated a delinquent child in a court in another state * * * for committing a sexually oriented offense shall comply with the following registration requirements if, at the time the offender or delinquent child moves to and resides in this state or temporarily is domiciled in this state for more than three days, the offender or public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrant enters this state to attend a school or institution of higher education, or the offender or public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrant is employed in this state for more than the specified period of time, the offender or delinquent child has a duty to register as a sex offender or child-victim offender under the law of that other jurisdiction as a result of the conviction, guilty plea, or adjudication: * * *.[2]

Pursuant to the Ohio Supreme Court’s two-part analysis set forth in State v. Lloyd,[3] an out-of-state offender has a duty to register in Ohio where (1) the offender has been convicted of a sexually oriented offense in another state that is “substantially equivalent” to a sex offense subject to registration in Ohio, and (2) the offender is under a duty to register in the other jurisdiction at the time he moved to Ohio.[4]

An out-of-state conviction is a “sexually oriented offense” under Ohio law if it is or was substantially equivalent to any of the Ohio offenses listed in R.C. 2950.01(A)(1) through (14).[5] Lloyd provided very specific guidelines as to how “substantial equivalence” should be analyzed:

[I]n order to determine whether an out-of-state conviction is substantially equivalent to a listed Ohio offense, a court must initially look only to the fact of conviction and the elements of the relevant criminal statutes, without considering the particular facts disclosed by the record of conviction. If the out-of-state statute defines the offense in such a way that the court cannot discern from a comparison of the statutes whether the offenses are substantially equivalent, a court may go beyond the statutes and rely on a limited portion of the record in a narrow class of cases where the fact-finder was required to find all the elements essential to a conviction under the listed Ohio statute. To do so, courts are permitted to consult a limited range of material contained in the record, including charging documents, plea agreements, transcripts of plea colloquies, pre-sentence reports, findings of fact and conclusions of law from a bench trial, jury instructions and verdict forms, or some comparable part of the record.[6]

Juvenile Registration Eligibility Hearing and Classification Hearing in Ohio

Under Ohio law, offense-based classifications apply to adults only. When a court adjudicates a child a delinquent child for committing a sexually oriented offense, the juvenile court also evaluates the juvenile’s registration eligibility through a classification hearing.[7] In such a hearing, the judge determines whether to classify a juvenile as a juvenile offender registrant and/or a public registry qualifies juvenile offender registrant.[8] Under Ohio Senate Bill 10 [implementing the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“AWA”) and creating an “offense-based classification system” under the Title I portion of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)], a juvenile court judge may choose to classify a 14- or 15-year-old as a juvenile offender registrant where the juvenile has not been previously adjudicated as a delinquent child for another sexually oriented offense. The juvenile court judge must classify all 16- or 17-year-olds and all juveniles previously adjudicated as delinquent for committing a sexually oriented offense (ages 14–17) as a juvenile offender registrant. All juveniles (ages 14–17) adjudicated as a serious youthful offender (SYO) for certain sex offenses will be automatically classified as a Tier III registrant, and will be included on the internet sex offender registry (also known as “public-registry qualifies juveniles registrants”).

A child who is classified as a juvenile offender registrant under SB 10 must register certain information with the county sheriff and must personally verify their registration information at the county sheriff’s office periodically. The length of registration and frequency of verification varies, depending on which Tier a child is classified under. For all registration-eligible juveniles, judges have discretion to determine tier level. In evaluating which tier to place a child, Ohio juvenile courts generally consider the child’s offense, his or her remorse, results of any treatment, public safety concerns, and the results of any professional risk assessment through a tier classification hearing.[9] For juveniles classified as Tier III offenders, the court also determines whether to order community notification. However, all registration records (even for Tier I and Tier II juvenile offender registrants) are subject to public records requests. Although no juvenile registrants should appear on law enforcement online databases, private registries have been known to obtain copies of a juvenile’s registrant status and post that information online.

Reclassification and Declassification Under Ohio Law

Juveniles have opportunities to be reclassified or declassified under Ohio law. Regardless of the child’s age, all petitions for reclassification or declassification are filed in the applicable juvenile court. However, in order for the juvenile court to hear such petitions, the court must have jurisdiction over the case. The juvenile court would likely not have jurisdiction to hear a petition for an out-of-state juvenile offender before the out-of-state juvenile offender is under any obligation to register with the county sheriff.

Thus, to seek declassification or reclassification under Ohio law, an out-of-state juvenile offender who is required to register in another state would likely need to first register as a juvenile offender in Ohio before he or she could file an action in the appropriate juvenile court seeking relief.

Before relocating to Ohio, an out-of-state juvenile who is required to register as a juvenile sex offender in another state should speak with an experienced juvenile attorney in Columbus, Ohio. Contact The Tyack Law Firm at (614) 221-1342 for a consultation about the sex offender registration requirements for out-of-state juveniles in Ohio.

[1] Section 2950.01(B)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code (“R.C.”).

[2] R.C. 2950.04(A)(4). See also Miller v. Cordray, 184 Ohio App.3d 754, 2009-Ohio-3617, 922 N.E.2d 973 (10th Dist.).

[3] 132 Ohio St.3d 135, 2012-Ohio-2015, 970 N.E.2d 870.

[4] Id. at ¶¶ 13, 46.

[5] See Lloyd, 2012-Ohio-2015 at ¶ 13.

[6] Id. at ¶ 31.

[7] R.C. 2152.83(D).

[8] R.C. 2152.82.

[9] R.C. 2152.831.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the Tyack Law Firm Co., L.P.A., or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel or representation on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, county, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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