Information About the Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registry
December 15, 2000
Utah Code Section 77-27-21.5 establishes the Sex Offender Registration Information System. Despite the protests of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that this registry did not violate the due process and ex post facto rights of those convicted of sexual offenses in Utah, see Femedeer v. Haun, 227 F.3d 1244 (10th Cir. 2000). As a result, the sex offender registry is up and running. The following is a brief overview of the statute. We hope this will clarify some of the confusion associated with the registry. Please remember that you do not have to be incarcerated or on parole for this registry to apply to you. Utah’s sex offender registry is one of the broadest in the country and applies to persons who are currently incarcerated, on parole, and those who have completed parole within the last ten years. This is only a summary of the statute and you may need to contact your own attorney if you have specific questions relating to your registration.
Who is required to register?
Utah Code Section 77-27-21.5 applies to any person convicted by this state or who enters a plea in abeyance for violating Section 76-7-102 (incest), 76-9-702.5 (lewdness involving a child), 76-5a-3 (sexual exploitation of a minor), 76-10-1306 (aggravated exploitation prostitution), 76-5-301.1 (child kidnapping), or of committing or attempting to commit a felony, under Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 4, Sexual Offenses. The statute also includes any person convicted in any other state or by the United States Government of an offense that is similar to the offenses listed above. Finally, the statute applies to all persons committed to a state mental hospital by reason of their mental incapacity and their commission of one or more of the offenses listed above.
When are you required to register?
If you are currently or will be incarcerated by the Department of Corrections the Department will register you when any of the following occur:
- You become incarcerated at a secured correctional facility operated by the state Department of Corrections.
- You are placed on probation.
- When you are released from prison and put on parole.
- If you escape.
- If you are transfered or released from a community based residential program operated by the state Department of Corrections.
- When your sentence is terminated and your parole period ends (applies to those not incarcerated or on parole as well).
Offenders confined in private facilities that are not controlled by the state Department of Corrections will be registered upon release by the sheriff in the county where the facility is located. Offenders in state hospitals will be registered by the hospital upon admission and discharge.
For how many years must you register?
You are required to register for ten years after the “termination of your sentence” (see next paragraph). You must register every year. You must also register within ten days every time you move or change your address. Lifetime parolees must also verify their address with the Department of Corrections at least every 60 days pursuant to their parole agreement.
If you are planning on moving to another state, you must notify the out-of-state police authorities and notify the Utah Department of Corrections before you leave.
So what does “termination of sentence” mean?
As stated above, you have to register for ten consecutive years after the “termination of your sentence.” This does not mean ten years from the day you were sentenced or the day you were released from incarceration. It means you must register for ten years following completion of parole or any involvement with the Department of Corrections.
Still confused? The ten-year clock starts running upon the completion of your parole status. This means you may have to register even if you are no longer incarcerated or on parole if it has not been ten years since the date your parole was completed. This means the day you were sentenced and the date you were released are irrelevant under this statute. It is the day that your sentence is terminated that begins the ten-year countdown.The statute creating the registry does not define “termination of sentence.” However, section 77-27-1 (9) of the Utah Code defines “parole” as a release from imprisonment on prescribed conditions, which, if satisfactorily performed by the parolee, enables the parolee to obtain a termination of his sentence. Thus, completing parole is the same as “termination of sentence.” However, terminating your sentence is subject to the conditions and limitations in Utah Code section 76-3-202. These conditions and limitations could increase the number of years you spend listed on the registry. The conditions and limitations include:
(1) If you are serving an indeterminate term and are later released on parole, you have to serve three years on parole without violation before the Board of Pardons will terminate your sentence unless the Board of Pardons decides you qualify for termination before the end of three years.
(2) If you were convicted of any of the following second degree felonies you have to serve ten years of uninterrupted parole without violation before the Board of Pardons will decide to terminate your sentence, unless the Board of Pardons decides you qualify for termination before the end of ten years. Second-degree felonies include forcible sexual abuse (76-5-404), sexual abuse of a child (76-5-404.1), or attempting to violate any of those sections.
(3) If you were convicted of a first degree felony for violating Section 76-5-301.1 (child kidnapping), Subsection 76-5-302(1)(b)(v) (aggravated kidnapping), Section 76-5-402 (rape), 76-5-402.2 (object rape), 76-5-402.3 (object rape of a child), 76-5-403 (sodomy), 76-5-403.1 (sodomy on a child), 76-5-404.1 (sexual abuse of a child), or 76-5-405 (aggravated sexual assault), or attempting to violate any of those sections, you will be placed on parole for life unless the Board of Pardons decides to terminate your sentence earlier.
Therefore, if you are given lifetime parole, you could be registered for life because your sentence will not be “terminated” in order to begin the statutory ten-year countdown. Further, if you are listed on the registry while incarcerated or on parole, you will be on the registry until the end of your parole period plus ten years.
The following are hypothetical situations to help you better understand the “termination of sentence” requirement for starting the ten-year clock:
Anyone who has completed their parole and “terminated” their sentence before January 1991 should not be required to register after January 2001.
Anyone who has completed their parole and “terminated” their sentence as of 2/1/91 will be removed from the registry on 2/1/01. If you completed your parole and “terminated” your sentence on 1/1/95 you will be removed from the registry on 1/1/05.
Anyone who has been given parole for life will not be removed from the registry unless the Board of Pardons decides to terminate his or her parole. Then the person will be removed from the registry on the expiration of 10 years.
You were sentenced to 5 years in prison on 1/1/98. You will be registered this year on the registry. In 2003 you get three years of parole. Assuming you have no parole violations, your sentence will be “terminated” in 2006 and you will be included on the registry until 2016. Thus, you will spend a total of 16 years on the registry.
What information will be included in the database?
The database will include your name and all aliases you have used, your address, a physical description, including your sex, age, height, weight, eye and hair color, the type of vehicle or vehicles you drive, and a current photograph. Information will also be included from the Department identifying the crimes you were charged with and convicted of, a description of your primary and secondary targets, and a description of your method of offense. Information regarding the identity or location of the victim will not be included.