Hello From Friday! This week, we're sharing a new tip about sex offense registration and have a reminder to share! And don't forget, if you're interested in contributing to the OJD weekly blog with a submission about court experience, a tip, or anything you can think of, please feel free to reach out to LaTobia.
Tip of the Week: Sex Offender Registration in Juvenile Court
The impact of sexual offenses in juvenile court often create confusion with the youth, the parents/caretakers, alleged victims, and stakeholders including law enforcement, court counselors, assistant district attorneys and defense counsel. Youth and parents are often informed by law enforcement, social workers, and others that juvenile court records are “sealed”, and an admission and subsequent adjudication will help obtain appropriate services for the youth without any long-term negative consequences. Defenders should advise clients and parents regarding confidentiality issues in juvenile court and note that records are not sealed unless a court order directs it. In addition, juvenile defenders should be aware of collateral consequences and know that, in fact, there are numerous potential long-term consequences of a juvenile adjudication including the issue of registration on a sex offender registry.
Registration for certain sexual offenses is covered in the Juvenile Code under 7B-2509. Registration can be required for youth aged 11 and older if adjudicated of attempted rape or sexual offense, first degree forcible rape, second degree forcible rape, second degree forcible sexual offense, or first degree statutory sexual offenses. These enumerated offenses are the only offenses for which a youth remaining in juvenile court could be required to register. In order to require registration, the judge must make a finding that the juvenile is a danger to the community (note that there are no factors or direction on what amounts to a “danger to the community”). While 7B-2509 sets out the limitations on age and offenses for juvenile sex offender registration, N.C.G.S. 14-208.26 through 14-208.32 outline the procedure for juvenile registration.
Important points for counsel to note include that registration may be required for attempt, conspiracy, solicitation of another to commit or aiding and abetting any of the enumerated offenses in 7B-2509. The determination of danger to the community “shall” be completed at disposition. Counsel should be prepared to argue registration at disposition as the statute does not reference a notice requirement.
While the juvenile registry is not public, registration information is forwarded to the local board of education. The information in the registry is also shared with law enforcement and is included in the Criminal Information Network. The information is maintained permanently, even after the requirement to register has terminated. See 14-208.31. The registration requirement, if ordered, terminates on the youth’s 18th birthday or when the jurisdiction of the court ends, whichever occurs first. Prior to that, the youth would be required to verify the required information twice per year.
Any youth transferred and convicted in Superior Court is subject to adult, public registry requirements. See 14-208.32.Counsel should review registration requirements and satellite-based monitoring requirements and case law for any youth subject to transfer.As a final point, counsel should likewise be familiar with Federal registration requirements under SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, sometimes referred to as the Adam Walsh Act).Under SORNA, a youth adjudicated of a sexual offense in North Carolina may be subjected to registration on a publicly accessible registry following a move to another state.For additional information regarding SORNA, the Department of Justice maintains information here.
Central NC Youth Defender Forum
Thank you to everyone that attended our Eastern NC Youth Defender Forum. From the presentations to the discussions, it's safe to say we all learned something new! We have one more Forum to go and that's in Central NC, or should we say Asheboro on December 2. Here's the info!
The Central Youth Defender Forum will be on Friday, December 2, 2022 at Randolph Community College’s JB & Claire Davis Corp. Training Center in Asheboro, NC.
Registration ends next Friday, November 25! Please register here!
Travel Scholarships are also available! Please reach out to Yolanda (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a need and for instructions on how to apply for funding!