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Punitive Effect of Retroactive Application of Sex Offender Registration Requirements

Typically, the courts find that the retroactive application of sex offender registration statutes does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause, because such statutes are found to be nonpunitive. See, e.g., Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003). Recently, however, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine held that particular amended provisions of the Maine Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), as applied to Doe, the registrant in the case before it, Doe v. Anderson, 2015 ME 3, 2015 WL 149030 (not yet released for publication), were punitive and that their retroactive application to Doe violated the bill of attainder clause in the state constitution. The amended statutory provisions at issue in Doe were a retroactively added list of offenses to which SORNA applied, including the offense for which the registrant had been convicted, and an amendment that changed the triggering event for a duty to register: That duty no longer required a court determination but only a simple notification from the court or one of the named agencies. Full Blog Article

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  1. j

    I find it hypocritical that while they found that additional requirements constituted a sentence modification and hence punishment, they agreed that SORNA in general was not punitive. I guess they tied it to the triggering offense and how it was previously classified. The only reason it is “not punitive” is because they said so. Any objective look at the situation and it is clearly punishment on many fronts.

    I have maintained that we are essentially re-sentenced every time an additional compulsory requirement is added, and if we don’t comply, we are subject to new criminal sanctions and imprisonment. That is the underpinning of how these laws violate ex post facto in my opinion. Failure to comply with requirements and restrictions added after our sentences were complete and cases were “closed”.

    Just like the lies are repeated over and over, we have a responsibility to counter that and tell the truth – over and over.

  2. David

    “j”, I agree. Frankly, I’m tired of people having the ready-made opportunity to shame me (or attempt to shame me) available on the Internet. I am actively involved in my community and on our local neighborhood connection app. I always harbor that sense that it is just a matter of time before some jack-hole posts an alert about me being an RC on the app, emailed to all my neighbors.
    Yes indeed, the Registry is a powerful tool to shame us, to silence us, to inhibit our successful re-entry and full participation in our communities, and to have a chilling effect (through self-censoring) on our right to free speech.


      It HAS begun and now the registry MUST GO!
      Here is you official chance to take your stand and take it down! 

      The WAR Admin Team AND our Class Action Core Team are proud to announce that we will begin work this week on two law suits to be filed at the federal level this fall. That’s right – two of them!

      The first is on behalf of registered sex offenders and the second on behalf of families and friends of registered sex offenders.

      The challenges will be against SORNA and the impact to the registrant families, which has been verified and documented by researchers. Also, the public impact will be defined in an upcoming survey being developed with the assistance of Professor Crysanthi Leon of the University of Delaware.

      Even though these laws were mandated at the Congressional level then enacted to varying degrees by the state legislatures, we will be asking the court to rule on “the law” thus removing the manner in which legislators have purported to keep children safe – punitive punishment for registrants and families. It is time to take the issue out of the state legislators hands and campaigns and place it firmly in front of the supreme courts.

      The concept of filing based on the collateral damage experienced by those who seek to provide positive support at re-entry and thereafter will gather steam and provide a more assertive approach than is being used today.

      Please consider this your invitation to visit our website where you will instantly see the announcement as well as the opportunity for participation. We have also listed some Frequently Asked Questions to help answer as many immediate questions as possible.

      Join the ‘Movers and Shakers’ in these law suits.

  3. Tired of hiding

    “because such statutes are found to be nonpunitive.”

    HAHAHAHA – lol – Ok, so lets see…how about letting one of these holier than thou “law makers” live under the restrictions of a lifetime sentence with all the hardships and limitations – basically destroying a life.

    No second chance (sort of American right)…not even if it was a victimless crime. Nope…one strike and YOU ARE OUT!

    I am guessing that after a decade of living like that, that they might just come to the inevitable conclusion that it IS INDEED punishment and cruel and most unusual punishment at that!

  4. Clifford Ray Irby II

    I am a non-convicted registered sex offender. The charge was supposedly committed on March 12,1991. After protesting & arguing my innocence for almost 3 years, I was coerced n2 taking a plea bargain on Feb. 28,1994, of deferred adjudication probation for a term of 5 years, under the promise of the dismissal of the indictment without prejudice upon completion of the 5 year probation term. While on probation, the judge put it in writing that the indictment would be dismissed upon completion, dated Jan. 1996. I then completed the full 5 year term h received the discharge on March 2,1999. Texas had never enforced or required that I register. Now, I’m on parole in the State of Louisiana & have been forced to register as a convicted sex offender. The Texas Court that presided over the case has issued a sworn document that states “this is not a conviction on his record per Texas law.” Louisiana has ignored this & has published “convicted”. Also, La.R.S.15:541(24)”…committed on or after June 18,1992, unless as a result of that offense the person is under the custody of the department of corrections & public safety on or after June 18,1992…” is the statute the State of Louisiana is using to force me to register. My rights, state law, constitutional law, even the plain moral ethical law are all being violated. How & who do I seek help from?

  5. Clifford Ray Irby II

    I was accused of a sex offense on March 12,1991, in the State of Texas. After nearly 3 years of in & out of court, the date of the offense changing, (due to me having an alibi), having my attorney telling me what was going to happen to me in TDCJ, & listening to the sheriff tell potential jurors “You are gonna do the right thing today.”; “You are gonna help get crminals off of our streets today.”;”Only you can get justice for these victims today.” I was threatened, coherced, & intimdated into believing that I had no chance for the truth nor justice. I pled to Aggrevated Sexual Assault under Texas C.C.P. Art.42.12, Sec.5 (a), deferred adjudication probation for a term of 5 years. For the sole purpose of the dismissal of the indictment without prejudice upon completion. On March 2,1999, I was successfully discharged without an adjudication of guilt. All of the terms & conditions were fulfilled by me. The presiding judge’s written document, dated Jan. 31,
    1996, states: The law provides for a dismissal of charges of this nature. On May 1,2014, the ckerk of courts for this same district court issued a sworn statement:”This is not a conviction on his record per Texas law.” However, the state of Louisiana has ignored this ruling & forced me to register as a “convicted out of state offender”. La.R.S.15:541 (24) states:”…committed on or after June 18, 1992, or prior to June 18,1992, if as a result of the offense, the person is under the custody of the Department of Public Safety & Corrections on or after June 18,1992. This definition shall include the conviction or adjudication for an offense under the laws of another state.” Louisiana has given an”ex post facto” date of June 18,1992, which they are violating. As well as the “full faith & credit” clause of the U.S. Constituion. PLEASE ADVISE! I have been arguing this with the State of Louisiana since 2009, with the best result being, “I don’t have the jurisdiction to alter the conditions of your registration.” If they do not have the jurisdiction to correct their own mistake, how do they have jurisdiction over a charge from over 25 years ago in another state?

  6. Gary

    Was never notified to register for over 23 years. Now East Baton Rouge falsified a form that I had registered there at 12:42 p.m. Jan. 4, 1996. I have my work sheet from Jan. 4, 1996 that I was at work that day. I worked 10 hours punched in at 7:00 punched out at 5:00 p.m. the work sheet system is iron clad and proves that I never registered. Tangipahoa Parish and the most corrupt sheriff ever known had me arrested 3 times on for failure to register and lied stating that I that I last registered in 1994. However, I was forced to register Feb. 2, 2018 or I would be taken back to jail. I was attending court on failure to register and filed a motion to quash but the sheriff stopped me from having my day in court. R.S. 15:544 (c) of the 1992 act they illuminated the “ongoing offense” for prescription period and in layman terms means statute of limitations. Act. 1999 repealed 1992 act. The 6 years time-limitation expired over a decade ago. The sheriff’s office threaten me and forced me to register. So the two parishes conspired together in falsifying records against me and again denied my day in court. I will be contacting the FBI and taking civil action against the sheriff of both parishes.

  7. kind of living

    @ Gary ,,,,, ,, Please keep us informed , it sounds like a very interesting case , matter of fact your case sound like something an old friend of mine that lived in out in Texas some years ago , some one ran over him while he was out riding his motorcycle , it was hit and run , they never caught the person that hit him , so he never even had a real day in court ,

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