Ohio youth sex offender registration rule blocked

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS AP Legal Affairs Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down a state law requiring juvenile sex offenders convicted in juvenile courts to register as sex offenders for life.

The court ruled 5-2 Tuesday that the requirement enacted in a 2007 law is unconstitutional because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates children's due process rights.

Justice Paul Pfeifer said the mandatory registration undercuts the rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile system and eliminates the role of juvenile judges in determining the best punishment for young offenders.

The decision overturned the mandatory lifelong notification requirement imposed on a 15-year-old Athens County boy convicted in 2009 of juvenile charges of raping a 6-year-old male relative.

Last year the court said the 2007 law doesn't apply if offenders' crimes were committed before it was enacted.