In August 2002, a man was accused of sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl in Florida. Five months later, he participated in an armed robbery of another Florida home. He pled guilty to both crimes and was sentenced to five years in prison. After being released, he moved to Green County, New York. The Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders completed a risk assessment which classified him as a Level One offender.
The prosecutor later argued that the Board failed to assign an additional 30 points based on the felon’s conviction for the home 2003 home invasion. County Court determined that the robbery, while not a prior crime, should still be considered as an aggravating factor which would justify upgrading his classification to a Level Two offender. He subsequently appealed this decision to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department.
Specifically, he argued that the prosecution failed to provide him and the County Court with the required 10-day written notice of their intent to seek a new offender classification. The court noted that this issue was never raised in County Court and therefore not subject to review. The appellate court also held that his argument was without merit since the court record demonstrated that the he was well aware of what the prosecution was attempting to do with regard to upgrading his classification status. Therefore, his claim that his due process rights were violated was unfounded.
Furthermore, the court found that the County Court’s decision to upgrade his classification to level two was within its scope of discretion. The decision was based on the defendant’s home invasion conviction, which occurred after the alleged sexual abuse of the minor girl. The circumstances of the home invasion, including the use of violence, were aggravating factors which would support an upgraded classification. Accordingly, the appellate court chose to affirm the Level Two offender status.
Unfortunately, his criminal defense attorney was unable to persuade the court that the upgraded classification was unwarranted. His new status could potentially make it difficult to find employment and become a productive member of the community.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to act as your advocate. The law firm of Stephen Bilkis and Associates specializes in defending individuals charged with sexual abuse, rape and other sex crimes in the New York area. Help is available by calling 1-800-NY-NY-LAW or by visiting one of the firm’s many office locations. A sex crime conviction can have life-altering consequences and severely damage your reputation. Contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates today to get the legal help you need to protect your rights.