This case looks at how the court determines the sex offender status of a convicted felon. Under New York’s New York Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), sometimes referred to as Megan’s Law, those who are convicted of most sex crimes and other serious felonies are required to register with the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for at least 20 years.
Those who are required to register are classified into one of three different risk levels. The restrictions that are placed on registrants and the length of registration depend on the registration level. A Level 1 classification is given to offenders who present the lowest level of risk of reoffending while Level 3 is given to those who present the highest level of risk of reoffending. Risk levels can be raised or lowered. For example, if an offender commits another crime or violates probation or parole, the court may raise the offender’s risk level. If an offender feels that his (or her) risk level should be lower, he can request a hearing to request that the court lower his risk level. An offender can even request that the court completely relieve him from the registration requirements.
In Simmons, the defendant was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree and two counts of murder in the first degree and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Prior to his release from prison, a hearing was held regarding his sex offender registration status. The defendant was designated a level 3 sex offender. He received this designation because of the “presumptive override” that was applicable in his case because his crime resulted in the death of the victim.