Indiana argued before the full Seventh Circuit on Thursday that state law does not place unfair registration requirements on sex offenders moving to the Hoosier State.
At issue is a provision of the Indiana Sex Offender Registry Act requiring people convicted of sex offenses who relocate to Indiana to register as sex offenders, even if the crime was committed before the law was passed. The plaintiffs are challenging its retroactive application.
The requirement creates a situation where an Indiana resident who was not required register as a sex offender would have to register if they moved out of state and then chose to move back because they had a past conviction.
In January, a split three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling that upheld a lower court ruling and found that the registry requirement is unconstitutional because it creates two classes of citizens upon which it imposes a different set of rules.
“The other jurisdiction requirement of Indiana’s SORA imposes a duty to register and its attendant burdens upon a relocating citizen that it would not impose upon a lifelong Indiana resident. The privileges or immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits this differential treatment,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner, a George H.W. Bush appointee, who authored the majority’s opinion.
However, the state disagreed with the split panel’s decision and asked for the case to be heard in front of the en banc Seventh Circuit.