Smith v Doe - DELBERT W. SMITH and BRUCE M. BOTELHO,...

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DELBERT W. SMITH and BRUCE M. BOTELHO, PETITIONERS v. JOHN DOE I et al. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT [March 5, 2003] Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court. The Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act requires convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement authorities, and much of the information is made public. We must decide whether the registration requirement is a retroactive punishment prohibited by the Ex Post Facto Clause. I A The State of Alaska enacted the Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act (Act) on May 12, 1994. 1994 Alaska Sess. Laws ch. 41. Like its counterparts in other States, the Act is termed a “Megan’s Law.” Megan Kanka was a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered in 1994 by a neighbor who, unknown to the victim’s family, had prior convictions for sex offenses against children. The crime gave impetus to laws for mandatory registration of sex offenders and corresponding community notification. In 1994, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, title 17, 108 Stat. 2038, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 14071 which conditions certain federal law enforcement funding on the States’ adoption of sex offender registration laws and sets minimum standards for state programs. By 1996, every State, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government had enacted some variation of Megan’s Law. The Alaska law, which is our concern in this case, contains two components: a registration requirement and a notification system. Both are retroactive. 1994 Alaska Sess. Laws ch. 41, §12(a). The Act requires any “sex offender or child kidnapper who is physically present in the state” to register, either with the Department of Corrections (if the individual is incarcerated) or with the local law enforcement authorities (if the individual is at liberty). Alaska Stat. §§12.63.010(a), (b) (2000). Prompt registration is mandated. If still in prison, a covered sex offender must register within 30 days before release; otherwise he must do so within a working day of his conviction or of entering the State. §12.63.010(a). The sex offender must provide his name, aliases, identifying features, address, place of employment, date of birth, conviction information, driver’s license number, information about vehicles to which he has access, and postconviction treatment history. §12.63.010(b)(1). He must permit the authorities to photograph and fingerprint him. §12.63.010(b)(2). If the offender was convicted of a single, nonaggravated sex crime, he must provide annual verification of the submitted information for 15 years. §§12.63.010(d)(1), 12.63.020(a)(2). If he was convicted of an aggravated sex offense or of two or more sex offenses, he must register for life and verify the information quarterly. §§12.63.010(d)(2), 12.63.020(a)(1). The offender must notify his local police department if he moves. §12.63.010(c). A sex offender who knowingly fails to comply with the Act is
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Smith v Doe - DELBERT W. SMITH and BRUCE M. BOTELHO,...

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