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State v. Helmuth

November 3, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
PHILLIP DAVID HELMUTH, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Darla S. Williamson, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Chief Judge

2010 Opinion No. 71

Order dismissing charge of failure to register as a sex offender, reversed, and case remanded.

Phillip David Helmuth was charged with failing to register as a sex offender on an allegation that he did not timely notify the Ada County Sheriff of his change of address in violation of Idaho statutes requiring the registration of sex offenders. On Helmuth's motion, the district court dismissed the charge based on a conclusion that Helmuth was not required to register by terms of the Idaho statutes. The State appeals from the order of dismissal.

I. BACKGROUND

In May 1992, Helmuth was convicted of two counts of the felony crime of sexual battery in the state of Ohio. He was sentenced to eighteen months of imprisonment on those charges, and he apparently completed service of that sentence in mid-August 1993. So far as revealed by the record here, he did not have any duty to register as a sex offender in the state of Ohio.

Helmuth moved to Idaho in 1999, and initially registered as a sex offender in August 2000 because, he asserts, a law enforcement official told him that he was required to register. In July 2009, Helmuth was charged in Ada County with failure to register as a sex offender under Idaho's Sexual Offender Registration Act, I.C. § 18-8301, et seq., because he did not provide written notice to the sheriff of a new address within two days after changing his residence. Helmuth moved to dismiss the charge, asserting that none of the provisions of the Act applied to him, and the district court granted his motion. The State appeals, contending that the district court misinterpreted the provisions of I.C. § 18-8304(d).

II. ANALYSIS

Idaho Code § 18-8304 requires that persons who have been convicted of certain sex offenses register their addresses with the sheriff of their county of residence. Portions of the statute that are pertinent to this appeal state:

(1) The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person who:

(a) On or after July 1, 1993, is convicted of the crime, or an attempt, a solicitation, or a conspiracy to commit a crime provided for in [listing various Idaho statutes defining sex crimes].

(b) On or after July 1, 1993, has been convicted of any crime, an attempt, a solicitation or a conspiracy to commit a crime in another state, territory, commonwealth, or other jurisdiction of the United States, including tribal courts and military courts, that is substantially equivalent to the offenses listed in subsection (1)(a) of this section and enters the state to establish permanent or temporary residence.

(c) Has been convicted of any crime, an attempt, a solicitation or a conspiracy to commit a crime in another state, territory, commonwealth, or other jurisdiction of the United States, including tribal courts and military courts, that is substantially equivalent to the offenses listed in subsection (1)(a) of this section and was required to register as a sex offender in any other state or jurisdiction when he established permanent or temporary residency in Idaho.

(d) Pleads guilty to or has been found guilty of a crime covered in this chapter prior to July 1, 1993, and the person, as a result of the offense, is incarcerated in a county jail facility or a penal facility or is under ...


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