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Victory on Appeal: Constitutional Right to Equal Treatment Under the Law Upheld

We are very pleased to announce a major appellate victory for our office at the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. The decision is located here: Nitz v. State, 2017 OK CIV APP 20.

The short(ish) version: our 19 year old client had received a misdemeanor in Nebraska for his consensual sexual relationship with his girlfriend, who was 15 years old. He had parental consent for the relationship. Seven years later, when he moved to Oklahoma, he requested that he be removed from the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry under our "Romeo & Juliet" law, located at Title 57, Section 590.2

The Court refused, finding that it could not grant the request, as our client was convicted in Nebraska, and not Oklahoma, and he therefore did not qualify under 590.2(A)(1). Our argument that the Constitution does not allow the Court to discriminate against people from out of state was rejected as well.

On appeal, the Court of Civil Appeals agreed with our position and reversed, finding that rejecting our client's request for deregistration, based solely on the location of his conviction, was unconstitutional. The case was remanded for a new hearing on the merits, the deregistration was granted, and justice was done. 

First and foremost, we want to thank our client, Mr. Nitz, for having the stamina to continue fighting for his rights. It took three years of litigation to get to a final result, and not many people have that kind of effort in them. We would also like to thank him for for allowing us to brag about his case on the internet - people need to know that the underdog does win, sometimes. 

We would also like to thank Judge Kane and District Attorney Rex Duncan, both of Osage County, for their professionalism, comity, and sense of appropriate justice following the appeal. Finally, we would also like to thank the Court of Civil Appeals, for giving the constitutional issues the time that they deserve, and for handing down such a well-reasoned opinion. 

Note: Pursuant to the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, our client has previously provided written, informed consent for the disclosure of the information presented above - so keep your hat on.

Michael Risley | Friday, May 05, 2017 | Go Back