from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Kurt Eisgruber,
Judge The Honorable Steven J. Rubick, Magistrate Trial Court
Cause No. 49G01-0508-FC-147277
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General
of Indiana Aaron T. Craft Deputy Attorney General
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Matthew D. Anglemeyer Marion County
Public Defender Indianapolis, Indiana
The State of Indiana ("the State") appeals the
denial of a motion to correct error, which challenged an
order granting the petition of Douglas Woods Johnston
("Johnston") to relieve him of registration
requirements under the Indiana Sex Offenders Registry Act,
Indiana Code Section 11-8-8-1, et seq., ("SORA").
The State presents the sole issue of whether Johnston was
granted relief in contravention of statutory authority. We
and Procedural History
On October 13, 2015, Johnston filed a "Request for
Removal from Sex Offender Registry" pursuant to Indiana
Code Section 11-8-8-22. (App. at 14.) Johnston, who has two
convictions for Child Molesting, as Class C felonies,
referenced only his 2006 conviction in his petition. He
stated that he had been found guilty but mentally ill in
2006, and claimed that he was eligible for relief due to his
age (fifty-nine years) and willingness to get continued
treatment for his mental illness.
On January 26, 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing. At
the outset, Johnston's counsel advised the trial court
that Johnston also had a Child Molesting conviction in 1997.
Counsel further advised that Johnson had been arrested in
2013, but the charge was dismissed. Johnston then testified
regarding his mental health treatment and the hardships of
compliance with SORA requirements.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the State objected that the
petition was inadequate to permit the trial court to reach
the issue of Johnston's removal from the sex offender
registry. Additionally, the State argued that Johnston had
not met his burden of proof. Johnston's counsel responded
that Johnston was fifty-nine years old, living on disability,
and "absolutely limited by his requirement to
register." (Tr. at 13.) Counsel urged that
Johnston's 2006 conviction should be distinguished
because he had been found guilty but mentally ill
("GBMI"). The trial court took the matter under
On February 10, 2016, the trial court entered an order that
Johnston be required to register as a sex offender only up
until July 28, 2016, ten years after his 2006 conviction. The
Indiana Department of Correction ("the DOC") filed
a motion to intervene, which was granted. The DOC filed a
motion to correct error and the trial court set a hearing
date. However, the DOC did not appear at the hearing and the
trial court summarily denied the motion to correct error.
This appeal ensued.
and Decision Standard of Review
Generally, we review a trial court's ruling on a motion
to correct error for an abuse of discretion. City of
Indianapolis v. Hicks, 932 N.E.2d 227, 230 (Ind.Ct.App.
2010), trans. denied. However, to the extent the