Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Venue Proper in District in which SORNA Defendant "Abandoned" Residence

U.S. v. Lewis, 2014 WL 4823594 (9/30/14) (KS) Published - Mr. Lewis asked the court to decide whether venue was proper in the departure district - Kansas - for the federal crime of knowingly failing to register as a sex offender after traveling in interstate commerce. Mr. Lewis last registered in Kansas. He left there to start over in Georgia. On his way east he stopped in Missouri to visit relatives. In Georgia, after living in a homeless shelter for 6 months, he found steady work and had plans to marry. He did not register in either Missouri or Georgia. The court ruled that venue in Kansas was proper. An obligation to report under § 16913(c) arises as soon as the person "abandons" his former residence. The court did point out that it was not establishing a mandatory federal reporting obligation in the departure district - a person can update his registration by contacting either the departure jurisdiction or the arrival jurisdiction. However, when the person doesn’t do one or the other then he has violated the federal statute in both places and venue lies in either.