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Home / Opinion / 10-1786 U.S. v. Leach

10-1786 U.S. v. Leach

Criminal Procedure
Ex Post Facto Clause; SORNA

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause.

“To violate the Ex Post Facto Clause, moreover, a law must be both retrospective and penal. But whether a comprehensive registration regime targeting only sex offenders is penal, as Leach concedes, is not an open question. In Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003), the Supreme Court held that an Alaska sex offender registration and notification statute posed no ex post facto violation because it was a civil, rather than penal, statute. Citing Smith, we observed in Dixon v. United States, a case that did not squarely present the issue, that a defendant could not challenge SORNA’s registration requirements on ex post facto grounds because the statute is, in fact, regulatory. 551 F.3d 578 (7th Cir. 2008), rev’d on other grounds sub nom. Carr v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2229 (2010). Leach has not identified any aspects of SORNA’s registration provisions that distinguish this case from Smith. This is unsurprising, since we too are unable to find any meaningful distinctions. Therefore, we join our sister circuits in concluding that SORNA is not an ex post facto law. See United States v. DiTomasso, 621 F.3d 17, 25 (1st Cir. 2010); United States v. Guzman, 591 F.3d 83, 94 (2d Cir. 2010); United States v. Shenandoah, 595 F.3d 151, 158-59 (3d Cir. 2010); United States v. Gould, 568 F.3d 459, 466 (4th Cir. 2009); United States v. Young, 585 F.3d 199, 203-06 (5th Cir. 2009); United States v. May, 535 F.3d 912, 919-20 (8th Cir. 2008); United States v. George, 625 F.3d 1124, 1131 (9th Cir. 2010); United States v. Hinckley, 550 F.3d 926, 936 (10th Cir. 2008); United States v. Ambert, 561 F.3d 1202, 1207 (11th Cir. 2009).”


10-1786 U.S. v. Leach

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Miller, J., Wood, J.

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