Federal Government Finalizes SORNA Regulations (and Emergency ACSOL Zoom meeting recording )

Read a summary of the SORNA meeting
Listen to the recording of the meeting

The federal government today published final SORNA regulations in the Federal Register.  According to this publication, the regulations will become effective on January 7, 2022.  

“The only thing that can stop these regulations is a formal objection by Congress during the next 30 days which is unlikely to happen,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “Therefore we must prepare to challenge the regulations through litigation filed in federal courts.”

Despite acknowledging that more than 700 comments were received regarding the proposed SORNA regulations issued in August 2020, today’s publication states that the federal government has decided to adopt virtually all of the proposed regulations.  The only difference between the proposed and final regulations is a small change regarding the circumstances in which SORNA violations may result in federal criminal liability. 

According to today’s publication, the final regulations “will make it easier for sex offenders to determine what they are required to do and thus facilitate compliance.”  The publication does not, however, clarify vague language in the regulations including, but not limited to, which tier levels — federal or state — will apply for registration requirements and other purposes.  

In today’s publication, the federal government has asserted that “SORNA’s requirements exist independently of state law requirements.”  The publication also refutes an assertion by ACSOL and its allies that a registrant’s duty to act under SORNA arises only when the registrant travels interstate.  

“In this final rule, the federal government is requiring some individuals required to register to comply with federal regulations such as registering up to four times a year without providing state and local government with additional resources,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein.  “This could result in gross injustices.”

According to today’s publication, “sex offenders are not held liable….for violation of registration requirements of which they are unaware, and noncompliance with SORNA may be excused where compliance is prevented by circumstances beyond their control, such as a jurisdiction’s failure to carry out a necessary complementary role.”  The publication provides as an example a registrant who attempts to provide information required by SORNA to local law enforcement, but local law enforcement refuses to accept or record that information.

“ACSOL is concerned that registrants will be sent to federal prison for violations of these regulations during the time it takes to prove that local law enforcement was unwilling or unable to help registrants comply with these SORNA regulations,” stated Bellucci.  “These regulations shift many burdens to individual registrants and do not penalize local law enforcement.”

Recording of ACSOL Emergency meeting with additional information regarding the final SORNA regulations.

A link to the 32-page publication issued today can be found below this article.

Federal Register Dec 8, 2021 (Easier to read in a web browser)

PDF version of above (Better for a printed version)


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And for those who have not read the final rules, you are not required to report your passwords.

Does anyone know the answer to this…
If one leaves the country for, say, 5 years or so… does the clock continue to count down for your time required to register? Or does it restart or just continue?

I would like to start this comment by adding to the chorus, to make it clear, that the government can go aggressively pleasure itself. Even if Smith v. Doe were rightly decided (which it wasn’t), the idea, asserted in the document, that SORNA’s rules are sufficiently similar to those in Alaska in 2003 as to pass the same muster is laughable. As we all know, this new rule-making, despite assertions to the contrary, introduces significantly more uncertainty (and the accompanying fear and concomitant detachment from community) for registrants, not less.

All the above being said, I do want to say that a silver lining for me is the clarification regarding liability for federal FTR. Do I wish the language was stronger? Of course. But I am also grateful that we are not merely left with a conceivable affirmative defense (“beat the rap but not the ride” as they say), but rather that we are only liable for “knowing” violations, with the requirements for “knowing” being a legally clearer matter.

This doesn’t make it not awful and a terrible development. However, the one part they did amend and clarify differently was the part I was perhaps most scared of out of all of them. I’m not saying this in some misguided and frankly offensive effort to say people should not be upset by this – I am unsurprised but still feel crushed – but simply that I am grateful at least something is a bit better.

It strikes me that this entire rule revision was really aimed at the Feds not losing any more cases they brought against offenders. They say as much in the test of the document, that these revisions specifically address the reasons that they lost those cases, and how the new rules will help in the future.

Not sure about the fear of the Feds now going door-to-door arresting people for not being in compliance.

During my recent phone call with the local DOC registration specialist I was told that typically the Feds do not initiate cases involving the registry on their own except for people convicted of Federal crimes. Otherwise, a referral from a local or state LEO is what typically gets the ball rolling. Just not sure that they have the resources to start going door-to-door arresting every registrant in the state for non-compliance, especially when compliance with SORNA is simply not possible given the current state laws & registration mechanism.

Screw the out of country, what happens to CA’s 3rd Tier rc’s complying all this time and TBD and now x4 a year, how many new fugitives are created by staying where they are compliant to County they reside and a Marshal comes haul them off for improper Fed comp that RC’s have no control over now. 700 going to ACSOL, better to have Fed auth ATTY on hand [ retainer ] for upcoming surprises ! ! ! NOT Panicking, but being Realistic for Janurary 7th 2022.

In response to the USDOJ proclamation that SORNA applies intrastate when there is no interstate activity.

See, United States v. White, 782 F.3d 1118, 1126 n.5 (10th Cir. 2015); see also, United States v. Cabrera–Gutierrez, 756 F.3d 1125, 1129–32 (9th Cir.2014) (holding that SORNA does not regulate inactivity)”

700 people made comments, which is good but should of been higher. I know it’s not easy to come out of the woodwork; however the future depends on you fighting for freedom. Seating on the sidelines while complaining eating Cheetos is easy, but does nothing. Stand up, Show up, Speak out, donate when you can, and get loved ones/supporters involved. March of 2023 can’t come soon enough. Now is our time to shine!!

Sorry little confused how this will work but I’m level 1 New York do not show up online will this change the New York State registry will they have to follow this ? Will it affect my level on the new York registry? And can a state choose not to follow this?

This is crazy, l I’ve been off the registry for 2 years. My tier in sorna is lifetime feds will try to put me back on?
I’m in Minnesota noncompliant sor I believe. Just got a great job and getting my life together, was Going to leave USA in 2 years now sounds like I better just go instead of risking 2 years working. If I stay in Minnesota and they don’t enforce it just leaving the country would trigger me back on?

Is it too naive to assume that if one is compliant with the requirements where one lives that that is sufficient for federal SORNA requirements?

Also, how does this affect various federal court rulings that say the registry is punitive and cannot be applied retroactively?

⭐⭐ Vagueness Doctrine ⭐⭐

“In American constitutional law, a statute is void for vagueness and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand.”

I wonder if this new federal SORNA could not be challenged for a similar argument – That ot is is overly complicated and, at times, self-contradictory and is, therefore, too incomprehensible for the average citizen to understand.

‘Just a idea.

(When laws become too complicated for the average citizen to understand, what good are they and how are they enforceable?? 🤷🏻‍♂️)

How does one determine what federal tier they fall under? The tiers I saw were extremely vague, and my husband’s was not listed or “similar” to those listed.

I just sent this in to Rep Hoyer’s legislative office via their email contact since he is the Majority Leader and can do something about this possibly if he chose to. It is worth a shot to him and to other elected House officials during the rest of today and tomorrow. Encourage you all to do the same.

Rep. Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader, US House of Representatives
1705 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

December 9, 2021

Honorable Rep. Steny Hoyer,

You must stop the DOJ from usurping Constitutional Due Process in their attempt to implement new rules without the House of Representatives having a chance to review and possibly object to them.

Due Process is guaranteed by the US Constitution for the American people. The DOJ has worked to put into effect a set of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) rules (86 FR 69856 and shown below) while the House is in their Christmas recess; thus, preventing the House from performing Due Process of reviewing these DOJ approved set of rules before going into effect. The rules were published Dec 8, 2021 and will go into effect Jan 7, 2022 unless the House gets a chance to review and possible object to them. However, by publishing them two days before the House goes on Christmas recess Dec 10, 2021 (with already a full slate of business to attend to) and has them going into effect three days before the House returns Jan 10, 2022 to start the 2nd Legislative session of the Current Congress (as seen on the Majority Leader’s public online calendar), they are effectively usurping Due Process as guaranteed by the US Constitution for the American people, of which the House represents through bi-annual elections.

This is a gross miscarriage of power by the DOJ, but a power that was delegated by the House to departments and agencies for efficiency. To purposely schedule an action like this is akin to unpopular nominations and appointments being put into place during Congressional breaks without the elected officials having a chance to review and object to them.

You must stop the DOJ from usurping Constitutional Due Process in their attempt to implement new rules without the House of Representatives having a chance to review and possibly object to them. The nearly 1M American people who will impacted by these rules need the DOJ and the House to follow Due Process as guaranteed to the American people by objecting to and stopping the implementation of these rules while the House is on recess. Adding families into this impact, the total number of Americans could be closer to 3M. People deserve their rights to be maintained regardless of what others think and believe. This usurping must stop.


A Constitutionalist who does not like those rights guaranteed to be violated

Publication Date:
Department of Justice
This rule is effective January 7, 2022.
Effective Date:
Document Type:
Document Citation:
86 FR 69856
69856-69887 (32 pages)
28 CFR 72
Agency/Docket Numbers:
Docket No. OAG 157
AG Order No. 5244-2021
Document Number:

Debating if I should Merrick Garland a crap load of Coal for Christmas or wait to see if his boneheaded decision causes this house of cards to fall.

That is IT. If these regulations are implemented for child porn I’m going to file a lawsuit based on the vagueness doctrine. This entire scheme is long overdue to fall apart. It shouldn’t even be up for discussion. This is tyranny plain and simple.

Dear all,

Please please take time to read the legislation. I know it’s long. It’s tedious to read and it’s frustrating. Download the pages to your desktop. Read em. Highlight them. It’s a lot to absorb.

Here is a letter from Daniel Hansmeier, Appellate Chief of the Kansas Federal Public Defender to the Department of Justice that gives perspective on the changes. Excerpt: “The proposed rule defines crimes Congress never envisioned. It seeks to punish offenders who are plainly compliant with SORNA. The regulations do not interpret SORNA; they expand SORNA by defining lawful acts (or impossible acts) as crimes.”

I have already started covering my butt. I sent an email to the person who does registration in my area as follows.

“Hello redacted,

As you may have seen, the US Attorney General Merrick Garland has signed amendments to SORNA effective 1/7/22.

These amendments will affect anyone who has ever been convicted of a sex offense.

Is there anything that I, as a person forced to register, needs to be aware of? Will any of my requirements under state or federal laws change?


redacted “

What get’s me is for example here in Michigan, we are working on the Third does lll lawsuit. Suppose we win and many come off under Michigan law. The pre-2011. The Feds will still keep you on the federal.

Consider a situation of this nature in which SORNA requires a sex offender to register but the law of the state in which he resides does not. This may occur, for example, because state law does not require registration based on the particular sex offense for which the offender was convicted, or because state law requires registration by sex offenders for shorter periods of time than SORNA, or because state law does not apply its registration requirements “retroactively” as broadly as § 72.3 applies SORNA’s requirements to sex offenders with pre-SORNA convictions. Notwithstanding the absence of a parallel state law, the registration authorities in the state may be willing to register the sex offender because Federal law ( i.e., SORNA) requires him to register. Cf. Doe v. Keathley, 290 S.W.3d 719 (Mo. 2009) (state constitutional prohibition of retrospective laws does not preclude registration based on SORNA). If the state registration authorities are willing to register the sex offender, he is not relieved of the duty to register merely because state law does not track the Federal law registration requirement.

So, what happens then??

As a sidetrack to all this madness, if the mods will allow it, I’d like to post a bit of WTH humor which happened in my life yesterday:

Dog bed before pic and dog bed after my dog went nuts pic:


Before SORNA After SORNA


I had a dream that one day AG Garland woke up and said, SORNA isn’t be enforced anymore. I was so excited and woke up when I hit my head on the wall.

i was under the impression that California did not opt into SORNA and stated losing federal funds was to small amount to comply, Also SORNA reads about electric monitoring I was one on several litigants that filed a petition in the Federal court in northen Cal. regarding electric monitoring and residential restriction,( which we won) the State declare they were not imposing me to ware a monitor as a sex offender but under the violet offender act as a parolee

In my opinion, this “final rule” affects every American citizen because of the Federalism aspect, and should be of great importance to the whole legal community. The NRA for one should be very interested in this i think?

Is it just me, or does it appear that Garland is pushing this right now so as to get the ball rolling in the courts on this. He knows about A.L.I.’s report and recommendations, and how these issues are most likely to be decided by courts as the politicians are too vulnerable to be able to deal with this. He also knows how complex these issues are and that it could take years and years to ever get to the Supreme Court. Not that i think he is doing us a favor or anything, but in affect starting the process. So this really is Smith vs Doe II i think, as the DOJ states in the “final rule” they supposedly designed this using Smith vs Doe as their “guide”. (also see) and (also see)

Last edited 1 year ago by webmaster

I see some people here discussing contacting LE proactively about the new rules.

I do not think it is a good idea to proactively be contacting your registering agent about the new rules. Why? Then you don’t have a defense about “not knowing” because you were informed when you proactively asked.

You can read the new rules, learn what is required for you to report, write it down on a piece of paper, put in your pocket when you go to register so you are prepared in case you are told you need that information. But do not pull out that information from your pocket unless the LE first tells you about the new rules and the information is needed.

Under no circumstances would I volunteer any information regarding the new rules or ever ask about the new rules unless you are first told about the new rules by LE and then you have a question about the new rules you are told about.