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Crime/Law Enforcement

Ohio Supreme Court Says Sex Offender Label, Requirements Not Cruel, Unusual Punishment


The Ohio Supreme Court says requiring convicted sex offenders to register and check in periodically with authorities is not cruel and unusual punishment.

The justices upheld the mandatory label put on Travis Blankenship of Clark County, convicted in 2012 of having sex with a 15 year old when he was 21. In the majority opinion, the justices said the sex offender requirements weren’t grossly disproportionate and that the minor’s consent is not a viable defense. They agreed with County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Saunders, who argued the case in March, telling the court: “Mr. Blankenship committed a crime. He was 21. He had sex with a 15 year old. And as part of that, he’s a sex offender.”

But Justice Paul Pfeifer thought the 25-year reporting requirement was disproportionate, and Justice William O’Neill felt this was an example of what he called “one-size-fits-all mentality” in the criminal justice system.