Thursday, September 29, 2016

Convicton for violationg SORNA overturned; reversing 10th Circuit

Nichols v. U.S., 136 S. Ct. 1113 (4/4/16) - The Court overturns the 10th Circuit and holds that the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) did not require updating an address with the state a sex offender is leaving when the offender is going to a foreign country where he is not required to register. The Court relies on the use of the present tense, which indicates a person's update requirement corresponds with where that person currently resides, not where he used to reside. The Court also relies on the requirement to update "after" leaving the state, making it hard to update in the state one just left. Plus in the prior sex-offender registration legislation, the Jacob Wetterling Act, Congress specifically required de-registering in the departure jurisdiction. Congress knew how to make such a requirement, but didn't in this case. Finally, the Court feels its interpretation will not create "loopholes and deficiencies," since Congress amended SORNA to make what Mr. Nichols did a violation of SORNA from now on. And, besides, he did violate Kansas law.