Monday, May 21, 2007

Chief Judge Jones upholds federal sex offender registry statute

Last week, in U.S. v. Hinen, Chief Judge Jones of the W.D. Va. overruled the constitutional challenge raised by the defendant to the validity of his federal prosecution for failure to register as a sex offender.

Judge Jones offered this background of the statute at issue:

"Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ('Adam Walsh Act') encompasses the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), Pub. L. 109-248, §§ 1-155, 120 Stat. 587, 590-611 (2006). The Adam Walsh Act, including SORNA, was approved by the President on July 27, 2006. SORNA created a new federal offense of failing to register as a sex offender ('FFR'), with a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C.A. § 2250.2 The elements of the crime as applicable to the present case are that the defendant (1) was required to register under SORNA; (2) traveled in interstate commerce; and (3) knowingly failing to register or update a registration as required by SORNA. Id. at § 2250(a). SORNA requires a person convicted of a sex offense to register, and keep the registration current, in each jurisdiction where the offender resides. 42 U.S.C.A. § 16913 (West Supp. 2007)."

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