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ID: 9th Circuit Reverses Trial Court Rulings Regarding Ex Post Facto, Religious Freedom

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that a federal trial court erred when it dismissed a case involving 134 registrants in Idaho who claimed that the state’s sex offender laws violated their civil rights. In its ruling today, the Court opened up the possibility that the Idaho laws at issue violated both the federal and state constitutions.

One of the claims in the case is that the state’s sex offender laws violate the ex post facto provision of the U. S. Constitution. Many of the state laws at issue, including a requirement to register for life, were passed after the registrants were convicted. The state argued in the case that several cases, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision Smith v. Doe which determined that the requirement to register is not punitive, allow the state to pass new sex offender laws and apply them retroactively.

In today’s decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated “case law does not foreclose a finding that SORA is punitive.” The Court pointed out that Smith v. Doe and other cases cited by the state government “only considered registration and notification provisions…none of these cases considered retroactively applied residency, travel, or employment restrictions.”

“We are encouraged by today’s decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “While today’s decision does not mean that retroactive state laws regarding residency, travel, and employment will ultimately be determined to be punitive, it allows for that possibility.”

Another claim in the case is that Iowa sex offender laws restrict registrants from attending houses of worship in violation of both state and federal law. Specifically, state law prohibits registrants from attending a church that is also used as a school due to “the proximity of a school.” The Court found that the registrants properly challenged this state law and its substantial burden to the exercise of their religious beliefs.

In addition to overturning the trial court’s dismissal of the registrants’ two claims described above, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also decided that the trial court erred in its decision to dismiss registrants’ claims regarding the Eighth Amendment and double jeopardy. As a result of today’s decision, this case will return to the federal district court that dismissed it. A future decision by that court is not expected for at least 12 months.

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This is great news. But boy is justice a slow snail. It’s amazing how the lives of tens of millions of people (I certainly consider family members to be part of the registry totals) don’t warrant expedience, but bullshit like all the frivolous election lawsuits are fast tracked to be done within a week.

And after all, why should smith v doe prevent them from finding it’s non punitive? You have to base your rulings on current information. Since 2003 was almost 18 years ago now, new facts have become widely disseminated to the public. That “frightening and high” statistic was a pure fabrication.

It’s far worse than that. Smith v Doe ruled that having to register and community notification is fine. They in no way said anything beyond that was okay, like the millions of laws now that very directly regulate where we can live, work, or even stand. It’s like ruling that Take-A-Penny-Leave-A-Penny wasn’t theft and then having politicians decide that also includes being able to walking into a bank vault and walking out with as much as you can carry.

Actually, SCOTUS played naive in the 2003 Smith v Doe and Chief Justice Roberts creating rules as opposed to judging on the rules (he later did this with Obamacare). The courts didn’t “think” where the registry could go beyond where it was in 2003 for those who were for it. Those who did dissent did describe where it could go and it look like it does today.

All of this because of false facts.

*Sorry, punitive.

You know, it would be nice if someone would at least post the name and case number of the particular case at hand.

What a huge win!!!
Great news for registrants in California and other states in the 9th Circuit. Let’s see if registrants in these states can capitalize on this victory.

You know maybe in a way this Pandemic that we all have been going thru let along the ordeal we are all under just may be a sign of better things to come. Course I don’t like to think as it overloads what brain matter I have or any of us for that matter.

Look at how justice is going. So where is truth in America? Sure whats punitive or punishment can be as upside down as a pound cake. Now authorities want to do whats right. From the common person’s standpoint much of this mask wearing is a bit of an overshadow. One can even look at this registry as someone leading one into temptation if you would like to use scripture but all in all much of this registry amounts to an angle type of mass incarceration weather incarcerated with prison time or probational time or lifetime registry compliances.

Its like battling dungons’ and dragon’s in this clockwork orange situation. And I don’t even know a thing about dungon’s and dragons’. I don’t even think they had that in the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up but they did have gunsmoke.

I’m elated that finally, some court has ruled what I’ve been arguing for years – that every law making body in the country made Smith v. Doe obsolete when they wrote out every single characteristic in the opinion that led to the conclusion that it was non-punitive. It specifically said registrants could live, work, and go wherever they wanted, updating was by mail, and the registry itself was only available to those who wanted to see it. Within a year or so, residence, employment, and presence restrictions, in-person reporting (similar to arrests here in Georgia), and many sheriff’s departments and private organizations like OffenderWatch and Next Door cram it in everyone’s face. Every time a new law/rule came out, another legislature would adopt and expand it to be “tougher on crime than the other guy.” Most politicians nowadays are cowards, not willing to risk their seats with the inevitable bad PR even though they are fully aware of what the right thing to do is.

One of the biggest problems in registry abolishment is that judges are every bit as much politicians as legislators, particularly at the superior/criminal courts. Despite their lifetime appointments, even federal judges can’t escape the politics of the moment, particularly if they aspire to higher courts (and most of them do). While I’m grateful for the support, it’s still a little infuriating that many judges and prosecutors wait until after they retire to write op-eds and such calling the registry what it is – an enormous, unconstitutional waste of time, money, and the lives of those on it and their family members.

@NewPerson…Chief Justice Roberts was not on the Supreme Court in 2003 when Smith v. Doe was ruled on. I am not defending Roberts…he is such a disappointment as a justice of SCOTUS…I am just pointing out an historical fact. Peace me with all of you.

Actually SCOTUS CJ John G Roberts Jr was arguing at SCOTUS on behalf of the USG in Smith v Doe. Read this SOSEN post here on it (which was reposted here in this forum 2015):

As we have said before here, he won’t take a case that undoes his legal legacy if he has any say about it. It will require the other justices to outdo him in taking one and then outvoting him to overturn it.

@ TS

Do you think it’s possible for The Supreme Court to go against Roberts? Or do we have to send truckloads of V8 juice to Washington? Personally I think Roberts legacy is toast anyway.


Yes, I do believe they could go against him. See my post below for more thoughts.

Really, all the Chief Justice does is preside over the court in session and deal with some administrative tasks. His legal opinions don’t carry any more or less weight than the other justices. Four justices have to agree to hear an appeal to grant certiorari. If they do, the appeal comes before the court whether Roberts likes it or not.

SCOTUS CJ is a little more complicated and influential on the country as seen here under roles & responsibilities:

Yes, the CJ is “first among equals”, their opinion is but one person’s and they can be outvoted when deciding on granting (or not) certiorari. I do wonder if Roberts would recuse himself from a discussion where Smith v Doe was a large part of the case matter but not directly the main focus of the arguement ( I doubt it.

@ Quietman, New Person:

Roberts was the attorney representing Smith (and Alaska) at the time.

One of the things to consider about SCOTUS is from the majority in Ramos v LA (unanimous court verdicts required) earlier this year when it comes to Smith v Doe (2003) and CJ John G Roberts Jr (

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said the then justices (Apodaca v Oregon @SCOTUS) got it wrong.

“Every judge must learn to live with the fact he or she will make some mistakes; it comes with the territory,” Gorsuch wrote. “But it is something else entirely to perpetuate something we all know to be wrong only because we fear the consequences of being right.”

The case was decided outside the traditional liberal-conservative fault lines. Gorsuch was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Sonia Sotomayor concurred, at least in part, in separate opinions.

Samuel Alito dissented, largely over concerns about the court overturning itself. He argued the court was “lowering the bar for overruling our precedents.” Alito was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan.

Roberts got Smith v Doe wrong as an atty and SCOTUS did the same then. The high court will have to realize it when the time comes to judge again on case where it is so strong, the only way to rule will be for the person forced to register. Maybe that time is coming sooner rather than later (hope so!) especially with Roberts sitting in on the case and being forced to hear his own argument shredded. They are frankly afraid of the consequences of doing the right thing, e.g. they were in Gundy, especially Alito for the shear volume of regs (30K!) possibly impacted, but they will have to reckon it one day.

Alito is the sky is falling justice. He would address non-delegation again but only for someone else who is not a person forced to register and is already afraid of overturning SCOTUS precedent for whatever reason. I guess he cares for the image of a high court that does not make mistakes (supposedly) or one that only overturns things long after the bench has completely overturned of it’s participating justices like a garden needing to be tended to of its weeds.

Roberts will vote against it no matter what to preserve his legal legacy and never admit defeat or he could have been wrong.

@Dustin…thank you for updating me on Smith v. Doe. I am always open to learning factual information that I did not previously know. I try to keep a teachable spirit. Thanks for teaching me today. Peace be with you all.

What about internet postings after the fact?

@TS. What is wisdom when scripture gives a true understanding. So does the wisdom of this world has many mixed review. So what is truth. Are we are all sinners or upperclassmen or rankng in human class, so is their is a clash or something ready to break in this I told you so saga ordeal in this offender inducement. A pastor I correspond with from time to time via the internet mentioned to me last time we shared about the presidency and he was for Trump and he told me why. I’m sure it was a suprise to many about Biden’s win or would that pastor say to some I told you so or I had a feeling. I don’t think thats smart wisdom. Its almost like a know it all or jack of all trades if you would like to call it. Why do you think the scriptures say let God be true…come on that makes more sense than any type of man made wisdom.

Sure being a preacher has its types of responsiblities in loving thy neighbor and yes understanding that we are all sinners. Remember Jesus came with grace and truth. Need I say more. In all or a lot of this registry ordeal is justice turned upon its back and a presumption type theory is made to reflect prediction or future error or errors in this current event. While we can somewhat understand a punitive type punishment but long term punishment is a bit much when authorities incite in much of this ordeal. Its just like the ole saying ” What a tangled web we weave when one first trys to deceive. So in many of these ordeals who is brusing one’s heel and who is playing the dragon in much of this registry scheme.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x