FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-00-992]
HONORABLE ROBIN F. GREEN, JUDGE
Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure & Thompson, P.A., by:
Edwin N. McClure and Sarah L. Waddoups, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, JUDGE.
appeals from the circuit court's denial of his
application to terminate his obligation to register as a sex
offender. His sole argument on appeal is that the circuit
court committed clear error because it failed to evaluate the
statutory requirements to terminate registration and instead
continued registration to punish appellant because it
believed his original sentence was too light. We affirm.
was charged by criminal information, filed on November 9,
2000, with violation of a minor in the first degree, a Class
C felony. It was alleged that "[o]n or about July 1998
& March 2000, in Benton County, Arkansas, the defendant
engaged in sexual intercourse and deviate sexual activity
with A.R., who was less than eighteen (18) years of age, and
the defendant was a teacher in A.R.'s school."
March 13, 2001, a plea agreement and order was entered
showing that appellant had pled guilty as charged and
sentencing him, under Act 346 of 1975,  to four
years' probation and 120 days' incarceration in the
county jail as well as court costs and fees. He was
also ordered to register as a sex offender. Appellant was
released from jail on July 2, 2001.
filed a petition for early termination and to seal his record
on December 23, 2002. On April 4, 2003, the circuit court
entered an order granting early termination of
appellant's probation and sealing the record of the
offense. On March 8, 2004, appellant petitioned the court to
terminate his "requirement for reporting."
Following a hearing, the circuit court entered an order
taking the petition under advisement and ordering him to
submit a brief. Appellant submitted a brief in support of his
petition to terminate his sex-offender-registration
requirement and a petition to seal and expunge his record on
June 23, 2004. The petition was denied on August 23, 2004.
then filed a petition to terminate his
sex-offender-registration requirement on April 31, 2016.
Appellee responded on July 29, 2016, objecting to
appellant's petition and noting that it was requesting
that appellant be reassessed by the Sex Offender Community
Notification Assessment Program, which had assessed appellant
"almost fifteen years" prior to the petition and
had listed him as a risk level of two.
hearing on the matter was held on November 16, 2016.
Appellant was the only witness. He testified, in pertinent
part, that he was given a voice test and the report therefrom
found no deception. He contacted the Logan County sheriff who
provided a letter of reference supporting his
application. He stated that the "Booneville Police
department had no objection if they needed to provide letters
did not believe he posed any threat. He testified to the
following regarding the effect of his actions:
The events of 16-17 years ago were devastating to me and my
wife of 28 years. The ordeal that we had to go through was
hard on me, but was even harder watching her go through it
because she was innocent. She didn't do anything wrong. I
put her through this; I put my children through this. I know
people hear about jailhouse conversations or fake good or
things like that. In my case that's just not absolutely
the truth. My wife led me to a church that she was involved
with and that became our life. Everything I do now is based
on my faith in Christ.
on to state that "back then, " he was a "heavy
drinker" and that he "made a terrible, terrible
choice and a lot of people suffered for it." With regard
to the victim he stated that he "can't imagine the
pain [he] caused [her] and her family at the time" and
that "[w]hen he looked back on those events at the time,
[he was] disgusted by what [he] did." He acknowledged
that he did not blame his victim as it was "something
[he] did." He went on to state:
At this time, I ask that the Court would take this
registration requirement away. I don't think people that
haven't been there can understand what the stigma is and
how hard this is and what people call you and call your kids
and the things that happen because of this. I've been
doing it for 15 years, and it is hard. I acknowledge the
reason for the registration based on what I had done, but
I'm asking to be released from that as the statute
cross-examination, appellant testified that he saw a
psychiatrist in Fort Smith for over two years and remained a
member of a "men's group for accountability for the
majority of the last ten years"; he started that group
in 2003 or 2004. He stated that the group had a mentoring
component in which you "become a mentor yourself"
and "[try] to help other men in these types of
situations." He noted that he and his wife had ...