Sex offender who failed to register his address avoids jail time

Cary Ashby • Jun 6, 2014 at 5:07 PM

A judge warned the convicted sex offender he can't be "couch jumping" once he's released from jail.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway also told Norwalk resident Joshua D. Baldwin, 25, he needs to register his address with the sheriff's office every time he stays at a residence for more than seven days.

Baldwin, in mid-April, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted failure to notify his change of address. The fourth-degree felony conviction is for a Jan. 24 incident.

"The state is asking for a prison term in this case," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said Wednesday.

Baldwin had to register as a sexually-oriented offender for 10 years because he had an adjudication through Lorain County Juvenile Court.

"He was a juvenile at the time of the offense. ... I know he's not done with (registering for) 10 years," Kasper said.

"He has a serious juvenile record," said the prosecutor, who also noted Baldwin's adult record includes charges of domestic violence.

Baldwin was on felony probation through Lorain County when he failed to register his address and also reportedly committed two petty thefts. Conway credited him with recognizing the registration violation was "your fault and not the circumstances."

After Baldwin was released from the Erie County Jail "after he failed to register up there," Baldwin moved from one residence to another and didn't appear to have a "fixed residence," Kasper said.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said when clients convicted as sex offenders are homeless, the law makes it even tougher to follow their registration requirements.

"They want to know which park bench you'll be sleeping on. They want you to call every day," he said.

Baldwin's now ex-girlfriend kicked him out. Longo said the woman then called authorities in multiple jurisdictions about Baldwin.

"She didn't just stick the knife in, she twisted it," the public defender added.

Conway told Baldwin if he's ever homeless, he needs to tell his probation officer.

"There are places you can go," said the judge, who placed Baldwin on three years of probation.

Baldwin, who was fined $250, must obtain his GED. His probation officer has the discretion of when to impose a 90-day jail sentence or could ask the court to waive part or all of it if the defendant is doing well on community control. Baldwin, who is subject to random drug screens, earlier served 93 days behind bars, but that time wasn't credited to his new sentence. If he violates his probation, he faces 18 months in prison.

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