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Iowa's High Court Rules That Despite Appeals, Sex Offenders Must Register

John Pemble/IPR file photo

People convicted of sex crimes are still required to register as sex offenders in Iowa even if they’re appealing their convictions, according to today's ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court.

The case centers on the appeal of Brian James Maxwell, who was hired as a youth coordinator for two churches in the Winterset area in March 2014. That month he inappropriately touched a 16-year-old girl who he met through this job.

The next year Maxwell was convicted of lascivious conduct with a minor and sentenced to a year incarceration. 

Maxwell appealed and was released on bail. At this time he also petitioned the Iowa Department of Public Safety, saying he shouldn’t have to register as a sex offender while the appeal was pending. Maxwell argued that registering as a sex offender “is a severe collateral consequence” that he shouldn’t have to endure since the appeal process exists to “weed out error".

The DPS says that if convicted, sex offenders are allowed to delay registering their status until their appeals are resolved, then this would allow them to live at large without alerting the community. 

The state’s high court unanimously sided with DPS, saying that Iowa code requires people to register when “convicted” of sex offenses. 

Maxwell later lost his appeal