November 24, 2005

Registration case ruling is delayed

Posted: Thursday, Nov 24, 2005 - 09:38:54 am PST
News editor
Bonner County Daily Bee

SANDPOINT -- A ruling was put off Wednesday in a case of a Sagle man accused of failing to register as a sex offender in Idaho after being convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Washington.

Judge Barbara Buchanan heard argument from attorneys on both sides of the case during a preliminary hearing, but opted to issue a written ruling after she's had a chance to pore over Idaho and Washington's registration requirements.

"This situation is way too important to make a decision today," she said.

Barry Lee Johnson, the 51-year-old pastor of New Song Bible Church, is accused of failing to register as a sex offender after moving to Idaho in the mid-1990s. Johnson, according to Prosecutor Phil Robinson, was convicted in 1992 of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes in Benton County, Wash.

The offense was classified as a gross misdemeanor. Johnson's Coeur d'Alene attorney, Clark Peterson, argued the crime his client was convicted of in Washington is not substantially comparable to anything in the list of offenses in Idaho that warrant registration. Moreover, the state of Washington did not require Johnson to register as a sex offender at the time of his conviction, he said.

Posted by kshaw at November 24, 2005 03:17 PM