In 2003, 89-year-old Mary Rippy was brutally strangled by her neighbor, Tommy Standefer—a violent felon with convictions for first degree manslaughter and felony possession of a firearm. The elderly woman did not know about Standefer’s criminal past and didn’t suspect the violence brewing nearby.
In 2004, the Oklahoma legislature enacted the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act (57 O.S. § 591 – 599.1). This law, much like the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act, requires those convicted of specified crimes to register their addresses with the Department of Corrections and local law enforcement. The Act also allows local law enforcement agencies to notify the community about the residency of violent offenders. Typically, community notification is conducted via the Oklahoma Violent Offender Registry website.
This is another example of Oklahoma going far beyond the means necessary to protect the public by exploiting the private and personal information of its citizens. Yes, the individuals on the violent offender registry more often than not have committed very serious offenses, but the lengths that local law enforcement may go to in order to notify residents of individuals on the registry can be quite excessive at times. Though many of the individuals on the violent offender registry have violated an Oklahoma law, that in no way implies that their personal identification information should be spread throughout the state. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections already has a registry of every offender in the state, and many argue that such a database should be enough.
However, not all violent offenders are required to register. The Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act specifies certain crimes for which conviction requires registration:
· First degree murder
· Second degree murder
· First degree manslaughter
· Shooting with intent to kill
· Using a vehicle to facilitate discharge a weapon
· Assault, battery, or assault and battery with a deadly weapon
· Assault, battery, or assault and battery likely to produce death or great bodily harm
· Assault with intent to kill
In some cases, as determined by the judge at a defendant’s sentencing, conviction for certain types of abuse may be subject to the provisions of the Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act. At the discretion of the judge, convictions for child abuse or neglect, caretaker abuse or neglect, and child endangerment may be subject to registration under the following circumstances:
· The abuse resulted in “physical pain, injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, unreasonable restraint or confinement, or mental anguish to the victim, or
· deprivation of nutrition, clothing, shelter, health care, or other care or services which caused serious physical or mental injury to the victim, and
· the facts or nature of the offense warrant registration for public disclosure and protection of victims.” (57 O.S. § 593)
Domestic crimes and abuse are not automatically subject to Violent Offender Registration requirements, but registration may be ordered if the above conditions are met.
Violent offenders subject to the terms of the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act must remain on the registry for a period of 10 years after completion of any sentence, including incarceration in jail or prison, probation or parole, and deferred sentencing. If, however, a person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of any registry crimes, he or she is considered a habitual violent offender and must register for life. For this reason, it is extremely important to have a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney defending you if and when you are charged with a violent crime in Oklahoma.
Violation of the provisions of the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act or failure to register as an Oklahoma Violent Offender is a felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
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