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Ga. Supreme Court ruling forces GBI to remove names from sex offender list

More than 20 sex offenders pardoned by the state after serving their sentence will be removed from the state sex offender registry.

More than 20 sex offenders will be removed from a state database following a recent decision by the Georgia Supreme Court.

It's a case that has led to outrage in the state - especially among victims' rights advocates. It's also drawn questions from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation - the agency first charged with combing through the sex offender registry.

"We completely understand why those concerns are there and we have concerns as well," GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles said. "We are still trying to learn and understand, but what we do is we follow the law."

The ruling specifically dealt with one man's court battle but now extends to 21 others.

In the court's review of State v. Davis, justices ruled that Barry Craig Davis, who previously pleaded guilty to aggravated sodomy of his 6-year-old daughter, must be removed from the sex offender registry after he received a pardon from the State of Georgia.

Davis was sentenced to ten years in prison with two to serve in confinement in 1995 and was required to register for life as a sex offender. In July 2005, his probation was terminated. He received his pardon in 2013.

Roughly five years later, on May 21, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that the pardon restored all of his rights other than his right to carry a firearm. Viewing his registration as a sex offender as a "disability imposed by law" the court ruled he must be removed from the registry.

"One of the steps that we have to assure the public is that the information that we deleted is maintained by the GBI and sheriff's offices can maintain that information and we have it available," Miles said.

Agents combed through 50 cases of pardoned sex offenders in the state and narrowed that list down to less than half for people specifically pardoned for a sex offense.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles said they've since tightened their requirements for pardoning sex offenders and no registered offender has been pardoned since 2013.

They said the pardon does not expunge, erase or remove an offender's permanent record but helps them re-enter society. The state board added they will notify victims if they're registered with the state.