A federal judge ruled Monday that Tennessee’s sex offender registration act is unconstitutional, at least as it was applied retroactively to two offenders.
The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee affects only the two men who sued, identified in court documents as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.
“I think the ruling, while it is narrowly tailored to our clients, does open the door to the possibility of a class action,” attorney Ed Yarbrough said in an interview.
U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson had already ruled in February that parts of the law violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents people from being punished by a law passed after their crime was committed. On Monday, he ordered the state to stop enforcing any part of the law against the two plaintiffs and to remove their names from the sex offender registry.