Young men convicted under an older definition of statutory rape would get a chance to clear their names from the sex offender registry under a bill that has passed the House.
In March 2012, House lawmakers voted 64-1 to approve the legislation, which applies to young men who were convicted of statutory rape before 2010.
The measure has passed the Senate and awaits Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's signature.
In 2010, the Legislature cleared statutory rape charges in cases of consensual sex when a man is within three years in age of his 16 or 17-year-old partner. Previously no girl under 18 could legally give consent.
Ketchum Rep. Wendy Jacquet endorsed the plan, saying it gives judges discretion to expunge offenders' names from the registry who wouldn't be guilty under the updated law.
Justice will be served if Governor Otter signs the bill, which I expect that he will. Prior to 2010 I defended numerous individuals charged with statutory rape for for having sex with their 17 year old girlfriend after the young man turned 18. The Idaho sex registration requirements literally ruin these young men's lives. On more than one occasion I had the opportunity of having a married couple meet with me in my office concerning the husband's desire to be freed from the requirement to register as a sex offender in Idaho. On a few occasions, the wife was the "alleged" victim of the statutory rape back when the couple were dating in high school. At this point, these people have been married for years, have children together and for all intents and purposes are good people. Most of these cases involved parents finding out that the boyfriend and girlfriend were having sex and reporting it to the authorities. Right or wrong, parents have knee jerk reactions to their daughter having sex. Unfortunately it has ruined both the lives of the men accused and the daughter's the parents were attempting to protect.
Its good to see that there are a few Idaho legislators with some common sense in moving this bill forward. Its more than I can say for numerous Idaho prosecutors who will likely object to any motion filed to afford these individuals relief from a past injustice. Allowing the judge "discretion" to expunge offenders falling within this catagory of offender is a mistake. The bill should give the Idaho judiciary and county prosecutors no discretion in granting relief. As it stands, offenders will need to hire counsel to assist them in becoming removed from the Idaho Sexual Offender Registry.