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Petrovick v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

January 9, 2018

STEVEN BRENT PETROVICK, Respondent,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County The Honorable Jennifer M. Phillips, Judge

          Before Lisa White Hardwick, P.J., and Victor C. Howard and Alok Ahuja, JJ.

          Alok Ahuja, Judge.

         Respondent Steven Petrovick pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault in 1991. In 2016, he filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, seeking to be removed from the State's sex-offender registry. The circuit court granted Petrovick relief. The State appeals. Because we conclude that Petrovick was never subject to an obligation to register as a sex offender under either federal or state law, we affirm.

         Factual Background

         In June 1991, Petrovick engaged in sexual intercourse with a fourteen-year-old girl. He was nineteen years old at the time. Petrovick was charged in the Circuit Court of Jackson County with sexual assault in the first degree, a class C felony, in violation of § 566.040, RSMo 1986. Petrovick pleaded guilty, and on November 4, 1991, the circuit court suspended the imposition of sentence and placed him on probation for two years. Petrovick was successfully discharged from probation in October 1993.

         Petrovick did not register as a sex offender until August or September 2015. Then on January 21, 2016, he filed a petition in the circuit court pursuant to § 589.400.8, [1] seeking to be released from sex-offender registration requirements.

         After holding an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court entered judgment in Petrovick's favor on November 22, 2016. The court found that Petrovick "is not a current or potential threat to the public safety." The judgment also found that he "was never found in violation for failure to register as a sex offender, " and that he "has been in compliance with Section 589.400 RSMo. since he became aware of his duty to register in August 2015." The court concluded that

[p]ursuant to [§] 589.400.8 RSMo., [Petrovick] is eligible to be removed from the sex offender registry given that [he] was age 19 and the victim was age 14 or 15 [at the time of the offense], no force or threat of force was used, and at least two years have passed since [Petrovick] was found guilty of said crime.

         The circuit court accordingly ordered that Petrovick's "name shall be removed from the sex offender registry." The State appeals.

         Standard of Review

         "An appellate court will reverse a judgment of a trial court when 'it is not supported by substantial evidence, is against the weight of the evidence, or erroneously declares or applies the law.'" James v. Mo. State Hwy. Patrol, 505 S.W.3d 378, 381 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016) (citation omitted); Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976). "Questions of statutory interpretation . . . are reviewed de novo." Brainchild Holdings, LLC v. Cameron, No. SC96376, 2017 WL 6012216, at *1 (Mo. banc Dec. 5, 2017) (citation omitted).

         Analysis

         Missouri's Sex Offender Registration Act ("SORA"), § 589.400 et seq., became effective on ...


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