State's top court: Sex offender not exempt from registering

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The Idaho Supreme Court upheld a 1st District Court ruling from Kootenai County that said a 2009 amendment to the state's sex offender registration law does apply to a Coeur d'Alene man, according to a Monday opinion.

Randall P. Bottum, 55, was sentenced in July 1991 to 10 years in prison for felony lewd conduct with a minor, but the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for five years. His probation ended in July 1996, and the case was dismissed in February 2011.

At the time Bottum was sentenced, Idaho didn't have a sex offender registration statute.

But in 1993, the Idaho Legislature passed the Sex Offender Registration Act. The act applied retroactively to people convicted prior to July 1993, and those who were still on probation.

The act required sex offenders to register while on probation and "for a period of 10 years after the date of discharge from probation, parole or release from incarceration, whichever is greater."

In 1998, the Legislature repealed the Sex Offender Registration Act, and enacted the Sexual Offender Registration Notification and Community Right-to-Know Act.

The new act applied retroactively to people convicted of crimes before the statute was enacted. It also applied to those on probation.

So, because Bottum was still on probation, the statute applied to him and he had to register as a sex offender.

Bottum sought an exemption, but his offense, lewd conduct, is considered an aggravated offense so he wasn't eligible. The District Court in Kootenai County denied his petition for an exemption.

"When a legislative act is expressly stated to be retroactive, subsequent amendments to that act are also retroactive, as long as retroactive application would not violate the Constitution," according to the Supreme Court opinion.

The justices added, "Mr. Bottum does not contend that applying the amendment to him would violate any constitutional provision. Therefore, the district court did not err in dismissing Mr. Bottum's petition."

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