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The law that took effect Jan. 1 subjects Ohio sex offenders to new classifications and more restrictions.
DAYTON — An attorney for a convicted sexually oriented offender on Thursday challenged the constitutionality of Ohio's new Adam Walsh Act.
"We pride ourselves in this country as being free," said Jon Paul Rion. "This law is a direct hit on some of the fundamental underpinnings of freedom itself."
The Walsh act, enacted from the Federal Adam Walsh Act, subjects sex offenders to new classifications and more registration and residency restrictions.
The Ohio law went into effect Jan. 1
Rion filed his motion in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on behalf of George Poling, who pleaded guilty May 16 to one count of sexual battery. Rion's firm intends to file similar motions in other counties, including Greene, Darke, Butler and Clark.
The motion deals primarily with the retroactive reclassification of Poling, and attacks the Walsh Act on numerous fronts, including:
- That it violates a defendants right to due process.
- That it violates the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions by applying retroactive punishments.
- That it violates the separation of power doctrine by allowing the Ohio attorney general to engage in sentencing, instead of a judge.
- That it compels breach of contract by voiding the terms of plea agreements.
Leo Jennings, communications director for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, said that a handful of challenges to the Walsh law had already appeared.
Dann's office had worked closely with legislators and the governor's office to craft the legislation, he said.
Passing the Walsh act was "among the top five" priorities Dann set when he entered office in 2007, and the office plans to vigorously defend the statute, Jennings said.
- Of course it was, they want the grant money and he wanted to look good coming into office.
"We believe the law is constitutional and that it's being applied in a constitutional manner," Jennings said.