In response to readers' comments below: First one: The question is, has the registry been declared unconstitutional, not, what law supported the Plaintiff's claim.Forever Post:
Second one: Punitive, it is only punitive as to those whose dates of their crimes predate the registry, it is not punitive to those whose date of crime is after the enactment of the registry. If it were punitive to those whose crimes are after the enactment date, then the registry could not be operated, and the fact is, it is still operational today.
To understand why that is true, you need to understand how laws are construed by courts. Always remember, in law whether something is logical or not doesn't change how courts make decisions on these issues.
UPDATE 1-6: I do not discuss other cases within a post where the new case is not part of the issue of the post. In addition, I will say this as to cases mentioned, all of them are AS APPLIED type decisions (as applied to the facts of each case, and not to everyone on the registry), and none claim the Alaska registry was unconstitutional in the sense that it had to be taken down.
Court decisions are supposed to split hairs, this one did based on the law at the time, and current law. To win one must change the law or the way it is interpreted.
This question comes up time and time again, and it does because folks do not take the time to read the Alaska Supreme court decision in the case of John Doe -v- Alaska, Supreme Court No. S-12150, decided July 25, 2008.
The answer is, NO the Alaska registry has never been declared unconstitutional! Lets look at what that case actually says:
INTRODUCTIONThere is no reason to dig further into that case, the Introduction says it all. Nowhere in that decision does it say "the registry is unconstitutional," but it does say, "it is unconstitutional AS APPLIED to the facts of the Plaintiff."
The Alaska statute known as the Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act (ASORA) requires persons convicted of sex offenses to register and periodically reregister with the Alaska Department of Corrections, the Alaska State Troopers, or local police, and disclose detailed personal information, some of which is not otherwise public. Most of the disclosed information is publicly disseminated and is published by the state on the internet.1
Does applying ASORA to “John Doe,” who committed his crime and was convicted and sentenced before ASORA was enacted, violate the ex post facto clause of the Alaska Constitution? We conclude that it does because ASORA imposes burdens that have the effect of adding punishment beyond what could be imposed when the crime was committed.
We therefore hold that ASORA’s registration requirement does not apply to persons who committed their crimes before ASORA became effective, and reverse the superior court order granting final judgment in favor of the state and against Doe.
Again, what it says is, that ASORA cannot be applied to folks convicted before its enactment. It does not say the registry is unconstitutional. Want more proof? Does Alaska have a sex offender registry today (1-1-2011), sure it does (CLICK), and it does because no court has yet declared the REGISTRY unconstitutional!
Unconstitutional AS APPLIED does not equate to TOTALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the sense that it can no longer require anyone to follow the registry law.
Now, beyond the above Alaska decision, I'll add this, as of 1-1-2011 there is no other decision -in any state- that declares its registry unconstitutional! Yes, you will find certain decisions that say AS APPLIED to the Plaintiffs circumstances that state's registry is unconstitutional!
OK, this question has been answered.
Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
PS: Once as I recall a lower court judge declared the state registry unconstitutional in its broadest sense and required the state to take the registry down. That was in Michigan, and that decision was appealed and the lower court decision was overturned. Michigan has a registry today.
Someday review this page