Reply To: Supreme Court asks for input of Solicitor General; what does this mean?


I agree with your assessment, Nick. Packingham is a weathervane of the Court’s current composition and will very likely provide some useful signals about how the Court understands registry-related restrictions. We must keep in mind that Smith v. Doe rested upon the premise that registration alone (the simple publication of a person’s criminal conviction) was NOT a violation of Due Process because the Court did not construe such publication as punitive either by design or in effect. The Sixth Circuit’s analysis in Snyder clearly distinguishes from Smith v. Doe on that very point and concludes that the restrictions Michigan has added to the basic requirement to register are punitive both by design and in effect. Packingham is a relevant case because it concerns restriction although it doesn’t necessarily concern punishment and certainly not Ex Post Facto. But still, the Court will be speaking in these areas in its disposition of Packingham.