There may be several Oklahoma inmates currently serving time for violating state sex offender registry laws who could have their convictions overturned and be entitled to release, says Tulsa attorney John Dunn.
The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that state corrections officials have been violating the Oklahoma Constitution by retroactively applying state sex offender registry laws, thereby dramatically increasing the time many convicted sex offenders must spend on the registry.
Early news reports on the ruling focused on predictions that anywhere from several hundred to 3,000 convicted sex offenders could be entitled to have their names removed from the state's sex offender registry.
But the decision also means there may be some sex offenders who currently are wrongfully imprisoned, said Dunn, who represented sex offender James Starkey in the case that produced the Court decision.
Individuals currently imprisoned for failure to register as a sex offender, whose failure to register occurred during a time when they would not have been required to register if not for the corrections department's improper retroactive application of sex offender registry laws, are entitled to be released, Dunn said.