Supreme Court to review sex offender registration law [updated]

(Reuters) – The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether the government can require a former federal sex offender to register a change of address even after he had served his sentence and been unconditionally freed from custody.

In a brief order, the court agreed to hear the government’s appeal of a July 2012 decision overturning the conviction of Air Force veteran ____ ____ for violating the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006. Full Article

Update April 18


Summary and Review – of Oral Argument April 17

Oral Argument Transcript – April 17

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Wow! This could potentially be huge unless I’m misinterpreting things. Any gut feelings on how this will go with the current set of justices?

anon, I’m wondering the same thing! Is it possible that this is the first major step in bringing lifetime registration requirements for low risk offenders to an end?

“Congress, it said, was not entitled to assert ‘unending criminal authority’ over _______ because of his earlier criminal sexual activity.”

If the court rules they are not entitled to continue that “unending criminal authority,” then it just stands to reason that it would extend beyond just the requirement to update registration, but to all aspects of the registration requirement beyond a reasonable amount of time.

The reprecussions of this would be huge and a big win for common sense and the constitution if it does win. I’ll be pulling for this one for sure!

Oh, how I am hoping and praying this is decided in our favor. “Please Dear Lord, let not my vote for Obama and a more liberal SCOTUS have been in vain!”

Don’t hold your breath, but let’s hope that SCOTUS at this point will recognize, acknowledge, and utter the words that registration is more than just a regulatory measure. It has in fact become punitive with all the new additions and restrictions that now coincide with the registry. If they do, I think it will open a lot of doors for reform.

Yes, Janice what are the chances of getting registrants off the registry after parole and completion of some kind of rehabilitation program. My boyfriend was 14 when he committed and did 10 years in prison then another 3 on parole.

Thank you for the comment Joe. I truly believe the tiered system in California will be passed. California is about the only state in the Nation to have lifetime registration for people even convicted of misdemeanors. Thats nuts. Thank you


Why aren’t the various registration policies being confronted as animus laws?

There is not one iota of evidence supporting the recidivist terrorist propaganda.
Hate-crimes are not limited to the behavior of individuals, the prosecuting agencies commit such in the name of “The People”. but animus legislation is prohibited regardless of whatever social crusade-du-lour is momentarily popular.

The question before the Supreme Court isn’t about registry requirements in general. This case is about federal jurisdiction. In this case the defendant was required to register under federal regulations. However, the defendant moved without updating his registry info. The defendant makes the claim that the federal government can only regulate interstate interests. Because the defendant didn’t move out of state (making it an intrastate action) that the federal government didn’t have the right (jurisdiction) to make him update his info. The problem with the defendant’s theory is that the court won’t really let such a loophole exist. They will find a justification to force registration, because they will want to uphold the intent of the federal registry. This case only examines the narrow issue of the federal registry and a person changing address without moving out of state. Even if the defendant were to win it would mean little to most registered sex offenders, because the vast majority of sex offenders are on state registries (who share that info with the Feds) rather than only being on the federal registry.

In case you are following Doe v Harris, the case has finally been put on the calendar for April 3rd, 2013.

Sex offenders are people too! There’s no laws or registration for those who have murdered, dui’s, drug users or dealers, theft, or any other crimes. I don’t want to live next to some one who has like 4 or 5 dui’s and 1 count of manslaughter wail he was drunk. I have 5 kids of my own. I don’t want ANYTHING to happen to them. What a murderer gets out after 15 years and moves in next to you and starts a killing spree or sneaks into your home late at night and dose something horrible, you would be outraged that the police didn’t tell you about him. This is America!! We are not to be persecuted for things once we have paid for them. You do the crime you do the time! The end! Or make it fare for ALL criminals. Chronic dui is just as dangerous to our kids as a sex offender is. And yes sex offenders CAN be cure with treatment. The recidivism rate for sex offenders before treatment for a new sex crime is 22% the lost of all crimes, with treatment it drops to 17%. Facts are facts. Educate yourself, don’t listen to media, look at more than one source, and then challenge that source. I say clean slat after you serve your time or similar laws for ALL crimes!!! No matter how small. Think of how many crimes would stop if people knew their face would be on a flyer saying that they shoplifted or how much of a bad driver they are let alone are major crime. Just think about it.

I actually found the transcripts very informative.. I hope more come in the future

I am not an authority on this stuff but this sentence sticks out…

“Congress, it said, was not entitled to assert “unending criminal authority” over Kebodeaux because of his earlier criminal sexual activity.”

I would think that if the court uses this language in any decision, the decision could then be sighted in efforts to claim the registry is punitive. Wording such as “unending criminal authority” used to describe the requirement to register seems like a very telling indicator of the legislative intent or at least the courts interpretation and enforcement of registry laws. Just putting my two cents in…

The justices were asking some excellent questions and points…if the
legal theory is as you claim, then you will authorize for all criminals to
register…no direct answer from attorney there…the inference is
punitive to discriminated group as is because the legal theory is a
sham…punitive…that attorney is not going back to pass a law for
every criminal to register to protect the public….that right there
was very telling………..The proposed plead guilty tiers…that’s the real
criteria to tier 1 or 2 … alleged “sex” crimes will plead guilty
guilty to charges in tier 1 or 2 to stay away from “civil” lifetime registry…
pleading guilty to criminal or so called “CIVIL”………for some this “tier”
stuff penalizes for exercised right to “fair trial”……..easily could be in
tier 1 if accepted plea…….people categorized in “tier” is Deceptive.

The link to the full article doesn’t work. Does anyone have a good link?

I think it is interesting all this reform. But what I would like to see is clarification regarding family law. A mother can have her children taking away in CA if she lives with a Sex Offender. I know because I almost lost my children. And the offense was 13 years ago when he was 18 and too young to understand that pleading guilty to get a deal giving you 9 months in county opposed to going to trial with no evidence was a bad decision. It has been 13 years and he can not marry or see his daughter.

I hope SCOTUS looks at how every other State Supreme Court t hear these cases recognizes these laws are in fact punitive. The fact that the lies of recidivism rates are no longer recognized by courts, but the real research numbers are.

This is not about sex offenders. This is about society as a whole. When we allow our government to limit a group of people’s freedoms and liberties, retroactively, regardless of the reason,regardless of the class of people, all of society is in danger.

@Mike : exactly …it is ex post facto …putting people in levels or
risk numbers is ex post facto …california wake up…you’re breaking
the law.

Tell me why we are not spending more time fighting for the homeless offenders.Many are on parole or probation for crimes that are not sex related and Jessica Law,AB113,and any other law that the politicians can get pass are only affecting those on parole or probation. If we allow those that run as tough on crime crusaders, continue to pass unfair laws, it will only be a matter of time before everyone who has ever made a wrong choice or decision will become affected. Just look at what is happening in some cities. They are already trying to pass laws that are more expansive and tougher than the laws that are already on the books. The problem they are having is due to most people in those cities are law abiding citizens. You might think this is different from what is being done to parolees and those on probation,but thinking that way may cost you your freedom.