The Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration requirements are continually being revised and strengthened. The requirements are often made retroactive, which can extend mandatory registration far beyond the original sentence.
One man, with the help of his Oklahoma sex offender defense attorney, is challenging his requirement to register as a sex offender for life. James Michael Starkey, Sr., of Hallett, pleaded no contest to a charge of sexually assaulting a minor in a neighboring state in 1997. He received a deferred sentence and completed court ordered counseling that determined he was not a pedophile.
However, when he returned to Oklahoma the following year, he was required to register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender for 10 years based on his deferred sentence in another state. Though more than ten years has lapsed since his initial registration, Starkey is still required to register as a sex offender in Oklahoma. In fact, he is now required to register for life.
What happened to extend Starkey's registration requirements? Has he committed more sex crimes in Oklahoma? Has he violated the terms of his probation or failed to register?
No. In fact, Starkey has no further arrests. Rather, the legislation concerning Oklahoma Sex Offender registration has changed. When the law mandating the length of registration for certain offenses was strengthened, it was made retroactive. Starkey and his Oklahoma sex crimes lawyer argue that the law cannot be enacted retroactively.
An Oklahoma County District Judge has already ruled in Starkey's favor, and the decision is now presented to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to either affirm or change. It is estimated that there are 6,600 people on the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry. If the Oklahoma Supreme Court orders that the state Department of Corrections cannot enforce registration retroactively, Starkey and approximately 60 other registered sex offenders would be removed from the list immediately.
Many others who would have been required to remain on the list for a lifetime as a result of retroactively applied registration will eventually pass off the list as their original terms are completed. Those who have been unfairly required to comply with the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act beyond their original sentence should contact an experienced Oklahoma sex offender lawyer who can explain their rights and options.