7th Circuit Court hears arguments on interstate travel for sex offenders

By Lorraine Bailey

CHICAGO (CN) – The Seventh Circuit appeared likely Tuesday to overturn Indiana’s sex offender registration requirement, as it applies to people only required to register because they moved away from the state then moved back.

“This registration requirement imposes a significant burden on those who move to Indiana, and not on people who live in Indiana continuously,” U.S. Circuit Judge Illana Rovner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, said at oral arguments Tuesday morning. “It seems to me a violation of the fundamental right to travel.”

In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union won a preliminary injunction blocking the Hoosier State from requiring sex offenders to register simply because they resided in another state after serving their sentence.

All three plaintiffs committed a sex offense before the enactment of Indiana’s Sex Offender Registration Act, then left Indiana and resided in another state that required them to register as sex offenders.

Upon their return to Indiana, the state required them to register, even though they would not be required to register if they had never left Indiana.

A federal judge ruled that this policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause because it treats people differently simply because they crossed state lines.

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