Archive | Sex offender registration

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Significant FDNY Cert. Grant Concerning SORNA

Today the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Gundy v. United States, No. 17-6086, to decide whether the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) violates the nondelegation doctrine by delegating authority to the Attorney General to issue regulations under 42 U.S.C. § 16913(d). The grant is particularly significant because, as Sentencing Resource Counsel Ada Phleger observed, there is no clear circuit split on this issue. The petition in Gundy is available here. (The Court granted cert on Issue # 4, at pages 17-19 of the petition.)

SORNA delegates authority to the Attorney General to decide whether the Act’s registration requirements apply to sex offenders who were convicted before SORNA was enacted.  This delegation, Mr. Gundy argues, unconstitutionally grants the Attorney General “unfettered discretion to determine who is subject to criminal legislation without an ‘intelligible principle.'”  Cert. Petition at 19.  Notably, Justice Gorsuch raised a similar concern in a …

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Categories: Sex offender registration, sex offenses

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Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Fuller Brush-Off

United States v. Fuller, No. 09-1437-cr (2d Cir. November 30, 2010) (McLaughlin, Straug, Raggi, CJJ)

In 2004, Ross Fuller pled guilty to a sex offense in Missouri and became a registered sex offender. He complied with the applicable registration requirements until June of 2006, when he moved to New York, and failed to register either in Missouri or New York State. Federal authorities arrested Fuller in New York in October of 2007, and he pled guilty to violating the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (“SORNA”), 42 U.S.C. § 16901, et seq., which makes it a crime to travel in interstate commerce and knowingly fail to register or update a sex offender registration.

On appeal, he made two arguments, both unsuccessful.

First, when Congress enacted SORNA in 2006, it included a provision, § 16913(d), granting the Attorney General the authority to “specify the applicability of” SORNA to sex offenders convicted before …

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Categories: Sex offender registration, Uncategorized

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Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Sex Offender Goes South, As Does His Defense

United States v. Van Buren, No. 08-6262-cr (2d Cir. March 17, 2010) (Walker, Straub, Livingston, CJJ)

A jury convicted Van Buren of failing to comply with the registration requirements of SORNA after he moved from his hotel in Binghamton, New York, to his mother’s house in North Carolina without updating his New York registration or registering in North Carolina.

On appeal, he first raised a host of constitutional challenges, all of which were foreclosed by United States v. Guzman, an intervening decision. See Moving Violations, posted January 7, 2010.

He also claimed that the district court erred in its jury instructions about the scope of SORNA’s registration requirements. The statutory scheme requires a convicted sex offender to register, and keep the registration current – including providing the address of his residence – in each jurisdiction where he resides, is employed or is a student. In addition, within three business days …

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Categories: Sex offender registration, Uncategorized

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Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Moving Violations

United States v. Guzman; United States v. Hall, Nos. 08-5561-cr; 08-6004-cr (2d Cir. January 7, 2010) (Miner, Straub, Wesley, CJJ)

Defendants Guzman and Hall were both registered sex offenders in New York. Each moved to another state without updating his registration, and was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), which makes it a crime for a person required to register as a sex offender to travel in interstate commerce and knowingly fail to keep his registration information current. Each defendant moved to dismiss his indictment on several grounds; the district court rejected all but the Commerce Clause challenges. Finding that the statutory scheme (“SORNA”) exceeded Congress’s authority to legislate pursuant to the Commerce Clause, the district court dismissed the indictment in both cases. On these consolidated government appeals, the circuit reversed.

The court first noted that § 2250(a) itself is a proper exercise of the power to regulate commerce, …

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Categories: Sex offender registration, Uncategorized

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Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


United States v. Hester, No. 08-4665-cr (2d Cir. December 16, 2009) (Winter, Cabranes, Hall CJJ) (per curiam)

After pleading guilty to two sex offenses in New York State, Hester was required to register as a sex offender. He completed his initial registration – which included explicit instructions that Hester update if he moved or changed jobs – and four change of address forms. Then, in April of 2007, he disappeared. Three months later, Hester was arrested on unrelated charges in Florida. He had neither registered as a sex offender there nor updated his New York registration.

Hester pled guilty to violating the Sex Offender Registration Act, “SORNA,” 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), and was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment. On appeal, he raised three unsuccessful challenges to the statute: a due process claim that he had unsuccessfully litigated below and Commerce Clause and vagueness challenges that he had not.

The due …

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Categories: appeal waiver, due process, Sex offender registration, Uncategorized

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Who’s SORA Now?

Willette v. Fischer, No. 06-1422-pr (2d Cir. October 29, 2007) (Meskill, Newman, Sotomayor, CJJ)

Although the Blog does not regularly report on decisions in state prisoners’ habeas corpus proceedings, this nifty case has relevance to federal criminal practice.

Steven Willette, a convicted sex offender in New York State, was tried and convicted, inter alia, of multiple violations of New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). During 1997 and 1998, Willette was living with his girlfriend but, on the four occasions that he was supposed to report his address (SORA prescribed ninety-day intervals), he falsely stated that he was still living with his father. Willette was found guilty of four SORA counts of failing to report change of address. He received a six-month misdemeanor sentence on the first SORA count, and three consecutive felony sentences on the others, for a total of ten and one half to twenty-one years’ imprisonment.

Here, …

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Categories: double jeopardy, multiple punishments, Sex offender registration, Uncategorized

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