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“Mercy Rule” Enacted For “Romeo and Juliet” Sex Offenders

Posted by Shawn B. Hamp | Apr 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Arizona Changes Sex Offender Registration Laws

Arizona has some of the strictest sex offender registration laws in the United States.  Any offense enumerated under A.R.S. 13-3821 requires life time registration as a sex offender in Arizona for any offense committed by an adult.

For young adult offenders those requirements are changing for “consensual” offenses involving sexual conduct with a minor.

Governor Doug Ducey signed into law HB2539, “Sex Offender Registration; Petition; Termination” Bill on April 5th, 2016.

The bill was sponsored by state representative Rusty Bowers.  He is quoted as saying that the bill offers “justice with mercy” to offenders that make “Romeo and Juliet” mistakes.

Law Change Applies To Offenders Under 22 years of Age At Time of Offense In “Statutory Rape” Cases.

The new law allows a defendant who is required to register as a sex offender for committing “sexual conduct with a minor” to petition the court to remove the registration requirement if they were under twenty two (22) years of age at the time the offense was committed, and the victim was between the ages of fifteen (15) and seventeen (17) years of age.

Usually these type of offenses involve “statutory rape” allegations or offenses in which the minor cannot lawfully consent to sexual contact with an adult who is still relatively close in chronological age or a peer to the “victim”.

Previously an adult who was convicted of such offense was required to register as a sex offender for life.

Requirements of a Petition To Terminate Sex Offender Registration.

In addition to those facts, a defendant must petition the Court and show that:

  • The sexual conduct was consensual.
  • The defendant did not violate any sex offender terms of their probation.
  • The defendant did not commit any other sex or obscenity crimes.
  • That there was no court determination that the defendant was a sexually violent person.
  • The original crime did not involve more than one victim.
  • The defendant was not sentenced to prison for the underlying offense.

The judge has the discretion to grant or deny any petition and the victim is entitled to legal notification of any proceeding.

Anyone who wishes to modify their sex registration requirement under this law should consult an attorney about the process and determine if the facts of their case fit under the new law.

About the Author

Shawn B. Hamp

President and lead counsel for The Hamp Law Offices, LLC (An Arizona Professional Corporation), Shawn Hamp has practiced law for more than 15 years with an emphasis in criminal law. An experienced trial attorney, Mr. Hamp has been lead counsel in hundreds of criminal trials and court...


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