Court to hear offender registation case

Jan. 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether the federal sexual offender registration law can be challenged when applied retroactively.

The 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, requires every sex offender to register in any state with a registration requirement. All 50 states have such requirements, and the law requires all sex offenders to keep their registrations current, SCOTUSBLOG.com reported.

In 2007, the U.S. attorney general issued a rule that the requirement applied to all sex offenders, even those who committed their offenses before the law was enacted in 2006.

In a Pennsylvania case, Billy Joe Reynolds pleaded guilty to failing to register and was sentenced to 18 months. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that Reynolds did not have "standing" to challenge the attorney general's regulation because the language of the law applies to all sex offenders.

The nation's appeals courts are split on the issue, a prime consideration when the Supreme Court agrees to review a case. In agreeing to hear the case, probably next term, the justices refused to consider whether the retroactive provision is constitutional, only whether Reynolds and others have "standing" to challenge the regulation.

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