Early Discharge From Iowa Sex Offender Registry

In an opinion handed down on February 15, 2014, State of Iowa v. Iowa District Court for Story County, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that individuals who have completed their criminal sentence and who are not under the supervision of the Iowa Department of Corrections, may petition to have their Iowa Sex Offender Registry requirements modified.

In 2009, the sex offender registry requirements underwent a massive legislative amendment which in part, authorized individuals who were still on probation, parole, work release or under special sentences to petition the court for modification of the registry requirements, including early discharge from the registry.  However, the question arose about whether or not individual who had successfully completed probation could avail themselves to the new statutory modification system.  Initially, the Iowa Court of Appeals said they could not.  However, in the recent Iowa Supreme Court decision, the Iowa Supreme Court conclude that individuals convicted of a sex offense but that were no longer under supervision by the Department of Corrections could indeed petition for modification of the Registry requirements under a different subsection of the Iowa Code section 692A.128.

This ruling clarifies the statute and makes clear that individuals who have been convicted of sex offenses may seek modification or early discharge from the Sex Offender Registry so long as the following conditions are met:

  1. The individual has been on the Sex Offender Registry for at least two years if the offense was categorized as tier 1 – or five years if the offense was categorized as a tier II or III.
  2. The individual has successfully completed all sex offender treatment programs required.
  3. Risk assessment has been completed and the individual is classified as a low risk to re-offend; and
  4. The individual is not incarcerated at the time the application is filed.

If all of these conditions are met, the individual may apply for modification or early discharge from the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.  The matter gets set for a hearing and a judge ultimately makes a determination on whether to grant or deny the requested modification or discharge.