President John Wesley Hall and NACDL Sex Offender Policy Task Force chair Michael Iacopino's letter to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security regarding the difficulties of state compliance and other concerns with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (H.R. 4472).
Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Argument: The federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) imposes criminal penalties of up to ten years imprisonment on anyone who “is required to register … travels in interstate or foreign commerce … and knowingly fails to register or update [sex offender] registration.” In 2007, a federal regulation made the registration requirements retroactive. The defendant was released from prison in Alabama in 2004 and registered as a sex offender; a few months later he moved to Indiana, but failed to register as a sex offender in that state. The brief argues that the retroactive application of SORNA’s criminal provisions raises constitutional concerns under the Ex Post Facto Clause and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and that construing SORNA to avoid those concerns would not undermine the law’s objective of reducing recidivism of registered sex offenders.