The New York State Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) can be a complex area of criminal defense law but a full understanding of the law and changes in the law are necessary to adequately protect a client’s rights as consequences can result in lifetime SORA registration.
Preparation for the SORA Hearing
In order to provide the best defense at a SORA hearing, preparation is essential. Our Westchester County sex offense and SORA hearing lawyers always obtain a full background about the case including all necessary documentation.
Recently, the New York State Court of Appeals in People v. Baxin, 26 NY3d 6 (2015), held that a defendant’s SORA risk level violated due process by relying in part on grand jury minutes submitted by the District Attorney that were not disclosed to defense counsel.
The Court of Appeals further found that absent disclosure a defendant cannot formulate any meaningful argument against the District Attorney claims the minutes support. Grand Jury minutes are argued to be confidential but in this post-conviction context of a SORA hearing due process requires disclosure. The SORA court may order the minutes not be disclosed further by counsel. The court concluded that “In determining whether due process requires disclosure courts should keep in mind that the use of the minutes against a defendant for SORA purposes presents a very strong countervailing interest in support of disclosure.”
Aggressive SORA Defense
In order to properly defend a client at a SORA hearing preparation is key. Included in that preparation is determining what exact information the District Attorney is using to determine a defendant’s risk level.
If you or a loved one is under investigation for a sex offense, charged with a sex offense or facing a SORA hearing contact our Westchester criminal defense lawyers today. We offer a free sex offense, SORA consultation and are available at all times to protect your rights. Our main office is located in downtown White Plains (914) 946-4808.