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MO Would Publish Online Identities of Sex Offenders

October 13, 2009 Comments off

blog.jeffcitylaw.com : Missouri would publish online identities of sex offenders

Rep. Tom Dempsey, of St. Charles is expected to sponsor a bill in the next session which would require all domain names, instant message names and e-mail addresses of registered sex offender to be posted in a public database. Sex offenders would only be permitted to use their registered online identifiers. Any violation of the law would be a class D felony.

Enforcement could be a problem, however, for both practical and legal reasons.

Practical Problems:

In announcing the bill, Gov. Blunt noted that MySpace.com recently deleted the user pages of 29,000 registered sex offenders. It goes, almost without saying, that MySpace only deleted the pages of the sex offenders who used their real names (either because they were stupid or perhaps because they weren’t doing anything wrong). Many of those 29,000 could have (by now) have opened new MySpace accounts under fake names and effectively gone underground.

This bill will suffer the same problem. Sex offenders can setup phoney email accounts all day long and no one will know. They know it will decrease their chance of getting caught, and if they do get caught committing a sex crime, the class D felony for failing to register will be the least of their problems.

Legal Problems:

Whether the bill is effective or not, Rep. Dempsey will have to be careful crafting a bill. Here’s why:

* Missouri’s Constitution provides, that “ no . . . law . . . retrospective in its operation . . . can be enacted.” Mo. Const. art I, sec. 13. “A retrospective law is one which creates a new obligation, imposes a new duty, or attaches a new disability with respect to transactions or considerations already past.” Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833 (Mo banc, 2006)

* It seems that the registration requirement would create a “new obligation” on anyone who committed a registry crime. That’s unconstitutional if applied to anyone whose crime was committed before the effective date of this bill (presumably Aug 28, 2008).

* As to the ban on using an unregistered username, that would seem to qualify as a “new disability.” So that sounds unconstitutional too.

If this is correct, this new law could not apply to any current sex offenders, but only to those who may join the rolls in the future.

HS Football Game Streaker Charged with Sex Crime

October 13, 2009 Comments off

startribune.com (Minnesota) : Naked romps strike 3 St. Francis football games.

St. Francis High School students have been disciplined for streaking at three Saints football games this season, and one of the teenagers could be charged with criminal sexual conduct because of his nakedness.

Immediately after one of the games, a road contest Sept. 18 in Fridley against Totino-Grace, three boys ran from one end of the field to the other. Because of one of them “had no clothes, as in not a stitch [and] showing his genitals to people under the age of 16,” a charge of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct could be leveled, Markham said.

This would mean, of course by law, this student would become a registered sex offender.

OH Court Nixes Conviction in Registration Case

October 13, 2009 Comments off

daytondailynews.com : Court nixes conviction in sex registration case.

Cincinnati, OH — A federal appeals court has tossed out an Ohio man’s conviction for failing to update his registration as a sex offender. The court in Cincinnati says he was indicted based on a regulation that wasn’t ready yet.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered that the indictment against Marcus Cain be dismissed.

Cain was convicted of attempted rape in 1998. The court says Cain’s indictment for failing to register with authorities after moving from Ohio to Georgia covered a period that ended in March 2007. But that was while the government was still gathering comments on a regulation for applying a new federal registration to sex offenders convicted before July 2006.

Decision here: USA v. Marcus Cain – Northern District of Ohio at Akron

“Conclusion
SORNA requires the Attorney General to issue regulations specifying its application before a sex offender convicted before its enactment may be subjected to criminal prosecution for failure to keep his registration current. Because the Attorney General did not issue such a regulation in compliance with the notice and comment and publication requirements of the APA within the time period charged in Cain’s indictment, the indictment must be dismissed. We therefore vacate Cain’s conviction and remand to the district court with instructions to grant the motion to dismiss the indictment.”