7th Circuit Court of Appeals: ‘Other Jurisdiction Requirement’ in Indiana Law is Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s opinion that found a provision of Indiana’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”) requiring registration of Plaintiffs who relocated to Indiana after SORA’s enactment violated their right to travel because the provision wouldn’t have required them to register if they had committed their offenses while residents of Indiana.

The Defendants asserted that each Plaintiff was required to register under SORA’s “substantial equivalency requirement” and the “other jurisdiction requirement.” The district court ruled that SORA violated several of Plaintiffs’ rights, including the right to travel, and that SORA’s requirements, as applied, could not stand. Defendants appealed. On appeal, the Defendants dropped their “substantial equivalency” grounds, relying only on the “other jurisdiction requirement.”

The Seventh Circuit observed that SORA was enacted in 1994. 1994 P.L. 11 § 7. It has been amended several times to remain in compliance with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and, purportedly, to target those sex offenders most likely to recidivate. Each amendment expanded the number of offenses for which registration was required and/or expanded the duties required by registration. For example, the 1996 amendment required registration of offenders convicted in other states of offenses that would require registration if the offense had been committed in Indiana (“substantial equivalency requirement”). 1996 P.L. 32 § 2. This provision was made retroactive in 2001. 2001 P.L. 238 § 4. A 2006 amendment applied SORA’s requirements to any person who was required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction (“other jurisdiction requirement”). 2006 P.L. 140 § 5(b)(1).

Those amendments also made the burdens of registration more onerous: a registrant must report to the local sheriff in person at least once per year (unless the registrant was convicted of an offense that deemed him/her an SVP which requires a personal appearance every 90 days); the registrant must also personally appear before the sheriff of any county in which he or she works or attends school; homeless persons must personally appear every seven days; registrants at each appearance are photographed and must provide their physical descriptive information, birthdate, Social Security number, principal address, phone number, description and plate number of every vehicle they might drive, addresses of employers and schools they attend, email addresses and social media user names, and other information. If any of this information changes, the registrant must personally appear before a sheriff within 72 hours to report it. Registration requires several hours and often takes an entire day.

Per Wallace, any Indiana resident whose offense occurred prior to SORA is not required to register – provided that person remained a resident of Indiana. But under the “other jurisdiction requirement,” any person relocating to Indiana must register under SORA if their previous state required that person to register. This “other jurisdiction requirement” applies even if that person would not be required to register if he or she committed the offense in Indiana and hadn’t left. That’s the reason why the provision violates the Plaintiffs’ right to travel, according to the Court.

The Court concluded Indiana’s scheme under SORA places burdens on newer citizens and deprives them of the same rights and privileges of more longstanding citizens in violation of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Consequently, SORA violates the Plaintiffs’ and other similarly situated Indiana residents’ right to travel.

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  • This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 month ago by Fred.
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    • #83388 Reply

      Joe

      So in simple terms, does this mean that people who moved to the state and were convicted before sorna Don’t have to register in that state? I’m not getting it it doesn’t make sense to me

      • #83503 Reply

        Hershel Meadows

        Is this article saying the 7th circuit upheld it’s January 2021 decision that was under appeal or is this article merely a rewrite of what happened in January 2021? I know for a fact that Indiana appealed the 7th circuits January decision.

    • #83427 Reply

      Gerald

      It means that if newer citizens that wouldn’t be required to register after SORA became effective would not be required to register in Indiana for their offense. The negative part is really who keeps track of why SO’s are arrested in any state. Many could be in jail for this very thing violated under Sex Offender rules that really are not rules but jailable reasons. Honestly what jobless person that is a RSO can take any of this to court. Non compliance with this ruling by the state I’m sure is happening and trumped violation charges are happening. The real question is why nobody is watching out for the one’s that can’t afford to appeal or take an issue like this to court. Where are the protections? Really I love that the court finally ruled correctly but who is making sure that people that have been oppressed by the unconstitutional requirement are being compensated and released? When states start having to pay $$$$$$$$$$$$ for their violations of guaranteed Constitutional Rights and rights within the Bill of Right’s then everyone will see change.
      I was reading a post about a 55 year old RSO that was murdered in I think it was CA. These list’s are really dangerous to have in the public and I really wish this SORA act and state registries would be ruled as a violation of privacy and personal ability to protect one’s self, making it unconstitutional. May the man that lost his life Rest In Peace.

    • #83464 Reply

      mut

      excellent!
      registration is an impingement of liberty. a pain and penalty prohibited by art 1 secs 9 and 10 and title 18 of the federal criminal code.

      i did my time now proponents can do theirs.

    • #83481 Reply

      Perry P.

      What this comes down to once again-and it was already mentioned before-is MONEY! All States MUST be held accountable for the Unconstitutional Burdens they continually put on Us, in the name of ‘Protecting Society’. Again; it will take an entire Congress willing to step up to THIS PLATE, and aggressively take on S.O.R. Criminal Reform. Until then, All Corrupt DA’s, Judges, Courts, and State Lawmakers Nationwide will have a Field Day trying to get All of Us killed by Vigilantes…which they continually claim is not a result of The Registry but again. IT IS! It’s what they always wanted and always WILL want!!
      Nuff Said!

    • #83482 Reply

      DavidM

      What impact could this have on other states like Missouri ?There laws are very similar to Indiana. I was convinced of a misdemeanor in Kansas in 1997, from a 1996 incident. On the registry for 10 years. Removed in 2008. Moved to Missouri and had to register again because there law says 25 yrs. But it was for an offense that is not a registerateable offense in Missouri. If I can afford an Attorney do I have a case. Because of the outcome of this case.

      • #83491 Reply

        Gerald

        I’m no lawyer but it sounds like you may have a state case that could be deemed federal if you file to petition and get denied or they don’t respond in adequate time then go to state court and get a messy ruling. The biggest issue is that money would not be the goal because most of these cases are the first of their kind due to the fact that most registered individuals have not had the ability money wise to fight them. Once a bar is set then financial ability will be in the picture. I do think you have a case from what it sounds like. The problem is that the pain and suffering may not be addressed in the outcome. Don’t be discouraged by that though, freedom is priceless.

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