Legal Blog

GA Court of Appeals Reverses Sentence in Sex Offender Registry Case

July 15, 2013

In Pardon v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the defendant’s convictions for failing to comply with the sex offender registration statute and two counts of 1st degree forgery.

The Court, however, reversed his sentencing as a recidivist on the grounds that the State could not use the same prior conviction as the basis for a failure to register conviction and a recidivist sentence.

Pardon was sentenced as a recidivist to 30 years with 10 years to serve in prison. On appeal, he contended that the trial court erred in using his 1982 conviction (for rape, aggravated robbery, attempted murder and aggravated assault), the same conviction which required him to register as a sex offender, as the basis for sentencing him as a recidivist.

The Court of Appeals has previously held that the State cannot use the same felony conviction as the basis for a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and then as the basis to sentence the defendant to recidivist punishment. The Court reasoned that the same logic applied to Pardon’s case. The State argued that the rape portion of the 1982 conviction was used to support the failure to register charge while the other counts of conviction were used to support the recidivist punishment. The Court rejected this argument, stating that the recidivist statute specifically provides that “conviction of two or more crimes charged on separate counts of one indictment or in two or more indictments consolidated for trial, shall be deemed to be only one conviction.”

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