“If we knew better, we’d have a whole different system than registration.” Nancy Forster, Haines’s attorney and the state’s former top public defender, said that the Haines decision would begin to rein in a Maryland sex-offender registry that has expanded to include people who are far less dangerous than many ex-convicts but are stigmatized nonetheless as the worst kind of criminals. I know, because several of them are my clients,” Forster said.“One is a 19-year-old who had a consensual relationship with someone who was one year younger.One-fourth of the names on Maryland’s sex-offender registry might be removed after the state’s top court on Monday expanded upon a ruling that adding offenders from before the list was created violated the state’s Constitution.The Court of Appeals declared last year that the state could not require the registration of people who committed their crimes before October 1995, when the database was established.It waters down the entire reason for having the registry.I mean, murderers are probably a danger, but there’s no list for murderers.” In the court filings, Forster was able to shield Haines’s identity as “John Doe,” but in an interview she verified the identity of her client.
For more information, view "Protection From Sex Offenders," a 14 page, in-depth overview of the sex offender registry in Maryland, published by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.After losing that case, officials reluctantly agreed to remove Haines from the registry but vowed to keep fighting.They took the fight back to court, after a trial court judge ordered the removal of Haines’s name from state and federal databases, and argued that federal law required that they keep the offenders’ names on the list. State officials removed the one name in question in that case but maintained that federal law required them to keep older cases in the database.On Monday, the judges ruled in that case and another one that federal law doesn’t override the state’s Constitution.
The state’s high court was considering challenges brought by men who are identified in court records as John Doe and John Roe.