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1/23/12-SCOTUS(SupremeCourt) sorts through applicability of SORNA in Reynolds!!

Light in the long dark tunnel…

It appears that for a change the Supreme Court Justices are putting forth some effort in beginning to unravel the knots made by the AWA…

On January 23 the United States Supreme Court overturned a circuit court ruling….

A 7-2 ruling in Reynolds v. US, the Justices provide an explanation about when and to whom SORNA applies to those who were convicted of sex offense prior to the act. Here is just a small part from the majority opinion by Justice Breyer, which explains the issue and the essence of the ruling:

The federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (Act), 120 Stat. 590, 42 U. S. C. §16901 et seq. (2006 ed. and Supp. III), requires those convicted of certain sex crimes to provide state governments with (and to update) information, such as names and current addresses, for inclusion on state and federal sex offender registries. §§16912(a), 16913–16914, 16919(a) (2006 ed.). The Act makes it a crime for a person who is “required to register” under the Act and who “travels in interstate or foreign commerce” knowingly to “fai[l] to register or update a reg- istration . . . .” 18 U. S. C. §2250(a). The question before us concerns the date on which this federal registra- tion requirement took effect with respect to sex offenders convicted before the Act became law….

The question before us is whether the Act requires pre-Act offenders to register before the Attorney General validly specifies that the Act’s registration provisions ap- ply to them. We believe that it does not. For one thing, a natural reading of the textual language supports our conclusion….

Pre-Act offenders, aware of such complexities, lacunae, and difficulties [in figuring out to whom and how SORNA applies], might, on their own, reach different conclusions about whether, or how, the new registration requirements applied to them. A ruling from the Attorney General, however, could diminish or eliminate those uncertainties, thereby helping to eliminate the very kind of vagueness and uncertainty that criminal law must seek to avoid. Cf., e.g., United States v. Lanier, 520 U. S. 259, 266 (1997) (noting that “the canon of strict construction of criminal statutes, or rule of lenity, ensures fair warning by so resolving ambiguity in a criminal statute as to apply it only to conduct clearly covered”).

Here is a plain language article

The fact page for the case:

Here is the entire Brief for the Petitioner… Excellent reading for those who can handle all the legal writ provided by the American Bar Association


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