Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rodriguez v. State

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

January 28, 2015

REYNALDO PARADO RODRIGUEZ
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND

Woodward, Zarnoch, Moylan, Charles E., Jr. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

WOODWARD, J.

Appellant, Reynaldo Parado Rodriguez, committed a third degree sexual offense involving a fifteen-year-old victim in 1996, for which he was convicted in 1998 and sentenced in 1999. At the time of the commission of the crime, as well as at the time of sentencing, appellant was not required to register as a sex offender under the Maryland sex offender registration act ("MSORA"). As a result of the 2001 amendment to MSORA, however, appellant was required to register for the rest of his life. The 2010 amendment to MSORA placed additional registration requirements on homeless registrants, which appellant failed to comply with when he became homeless in 2011. Appellant was charged in the Circuit Court for Frederick County with failing to register as a homeless sex offender. At a hearing on January 17, 2012, appellant admitted to failing to register as required by the 2010 amendment to MSORA, but argued to the court that he could not be convicted because he could not be required constitutionally to register in the first place. The circuit court rejected appellant's argument, convicted him of failing to register, and sentenced him to five years' incarceration, with all but eighteen months suspended.

On appeal, appellant presents two questions for our review:

1. Was the evidence insufficient to sustain the conviction for failing to register and must [a]ppellant no longer have to register?
2. Must [a]ppellant's conviction for failing to register be vacated because the plea agreement for the predicate conviction did not contemplate a registration requirement?

We answer both questions in the negative and, accordingly, shall affirm.

BACKGROUND

Predicate Offense

In August 1996, appellant, who was then twenty-six years old, had sexual intercourse with a fifteen-year-old coworker. Approximately one year later, the victim's parents complained, and on September 29, 1998, appellant pled guilty to committing a third degree sexual offense in violation of Article 27, § 464B.[1] On January 4, 1999, the circuit court sentenced appellant to eighteen months' incarceration, all of which was suspended in favor of two years' supervised probation, starting on the day of sentencing.

In November of 1999, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (the "Department") charged appellant with violating his probation by failing to (1) pay his monthly supervising fee, and (2) inform his supervising agent of his current address and place of employment. Appellant stipulated to a violation of probation, and on March 31, 2000, the circuit court sentenced appellant to eighteen months incarceration, suspending all but six days to be served on three consecutive weekends. The court also increased the period of probation from two years to three years, commencing on January 4, 1999 and terminating on January 4, 2002.

Sex Offender Registration

At the time that appellant committed the third degree sexual offense in 1996, the version of MSORA in effect was the original one enacted in 1995. Md. Code (1957, 1992 Repl. Vol., 1995 Cum. Supp.), Article 27, § 692B. Under Article 27, § 692B, only child sex offenders, as defined by the statute, were required to register. Under that definition, appellant was not a child sex offender. Id. § 692B(a). At the time of appellant's conviction and sentencing, MSORA had been recodified as Article 27, § 792 and expanded by a 1997 amendment to require registration for "offenders, " "sexually violent offenders, " and "sexually violent predators." Md. Code (1957, 1996 Repl. Vol., 1997 Cum. Supp.), Article 27, § 792(a)(7); see also Graves v. State, 364 Md. 329, 336-39 (2001) (discussing the early history of MSORA). A "sexually violent offender" included a person who, like appellant, had been convicted of an offense under Article 27, § 464B and required registration for a period of ten years. Id. § 792(a)(9)-(10), (h). The 1997 amendment to MSORA, however, applied only to offenses committed on or after July 1, 1997, and thus did not apply to appellant's 1996 offense. Editor's note, Article 27, § 792.

In 1999, the General Assembly made significant revisions to MSORA. Ochoa v. Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 430 Md. 315, 319-20 (2013). Relevant to the instant case, the 1999 amendment subjected a sexually violent offender who had committed an offense under Article 27, § 464B to lifetime registration. Md. Code (1957, 1996 Repl. Vol., 2000 Cum. Supp.), Article 27, § 792(d)(5)(ii). The retroactive application of the 1999 amendment, however, was limited to sexually violent offenders who had committed offenses after July 1, 1997, again removing appellant's 1996 offense from the purview of MSORA.

In 2001, the General Assembly made further changes to MSORA, this time adding a significant retroactivity provision (the "2001 Retroactivity Provision"). See Md. Code (2001), § 11-702.1 of the Criminal Procedure Article ("CP 2001").[2] In relevant part, the 2001 Amendment required the retroactive registration of offenders "convicted of an offense committed before July 1, 1997, " who were "under the custody or supervision of a supervising authority on October 1, 2001." CP 2001 § 11-702.1(a). The 2001 Amendment defined supervising authority as including the Director of Parole and Probation. CP 2001 § 11-701(i)(11).

Appellant was on probation on October 1, 2001, and thus met the requirement for retroactive registration under the 2001 Retroactivity Provision. CP 2001 § 11-702.1(a). As a sexually violent offender, who had violated Article 27, § 464B, appellant was required to register for the remainder of his life. CP 2001 § 11-707(a)(4)(ii)(2).

Although required to register in 2001 as a sexually violent offender, appellant was not notified by law enforcement of his registration obligation until March 13, 2007.[3] At the hearing on the conviction challenged sub judice, appellant testified that he learned he had to register when "in 2007 they came to my job, and [] I lost my job the next day."[4]

In 2010, the General Assembly again made major changes to MSORA.[5] The 2010 amendment reclassified sex offenders into tiers: (1) Tier I offenders must register in person every six months for fifteen years, with the possibility of a reduction in the term to ten years; (2) Tier II offenders must register in person every six months for twenty-five years; and (3) Tier III offenders must register every three months for life. CP 2010 § 11-707. The 2010 amendment contained a retroactive provision that applied the amendment to any person who qualified as a Tier I, II, or III offender and who was subject to registration on September 30, 2010 (the "2010 Retroactivity Provision").[6] CP 2010 § 11-702.1. Because appellant was subject to registration on September 30, 2010 (as a result of the 2001 Retroactivity Provision) and his third degree sexual offense with a fifteen-year-old qualified him as a Tier II offender, appellant was required by the 2010 amendment to register for twenty-five years. Therefore, the retroactive application of the 2010 amendment to MSORA actually reduced appellant's registration period from lifetime to twenty-five years.

Failure to Register

After becoming a registrant by application of the 2001 Retroactivity Provision, appellant, like all sex offenders, faced penalties for failing to register. See CP 2001 § 11-721. Under the version of MSORA relevant to the matter sub judice, registration generally requires sex offenders to (1) notify law enforcement of their registrant status, and also of changes of circumstance like a new residence or job, and (2) to disclose various information to law enforcement at the time of registration, such as the offender's name, address and the nature of his predicate offense. See CP 2010 ยงยง 11-705, -706. Registrants who fail to abide by the notification requirements of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.