Sex Offender Registration

AuthorHeather Ellis Cucolo
Whether your client is neurotypical (normal) or has a mental disability, sex
offender hearings are deeply rooted in psychological evidence, that is test-
ing, evaluations, and expert testimony.
This chapter by Heather Ellis Cucolo is a general introduction to sex
offender laws, which are often based on public fear and misinterpretation
of data. The first part of the chapter deals with representing a hypothetical
neurotypical client. The second part of the chapter deals with a hypothetical
client with an intellectual disability and the unique challenges sex offender
registration laws may pose such as the simple inability to follow rules.
• • •
Danny is a gregarious college senior who is ready to graduate and begin
his career as a computer programmer. Danny has been a member of the
Knappa Kappa fraternity since his freshman year and it is customary that
every graduating senior in the fraternity perform a “senior prank” during
the week before graduation. Danny decides to make Knappa Kappa history
and go “streaking” (running naked) through the quad in the early evening
of the night before graduation. Consequently, campus police arrest Danny.
Danny is charged and convicted of indecent exposure under state law and is
required to register as a sex offender. Danny needs legal assistance in order
to understand how the label of a “sex offender” will affect his life and future.
An important initial step in the representation of Danny is to inves-
tigate what occurred at the time of the conviction. Specifically, you
should inquire into whether or not Danny was informed of the potential
Sex Offender Registration
Heather Ellis Cucolo

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