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MO Supreme Court Upholds Sex Offender Registry

By AP/KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that sex offenders still have to register with the state, even if they were criminals before registration became required.

The court rejected a challenge by a man who was charged a year before the law took effect.

Anyone convicted of a sex crime has to register with local authorities after leaving prison. Attorney General Jay Nixon says the ruling prevents hundreds and possibly thousands of people from avoiding placement on the sex crimes registry.

All 50 states have laws requiring convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement agencies when they're released from custody. Missouri's law took effect in January, 1995 and requires anyone convicted of a sex crime since 1979 to register.

The man who challenged the law said making him register amounted to punishment for something that wasn't illegal when the law took effect. The state Supreme Court disagreed, saying the law merely imposes a regulation, not a punishment.

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