Blog also contains "Unfavorable" and "Informational" decisions and articles, and "Active Lawsuits." All can be useful in framing arguments for new court cases. i.e., avoid pitfalls or inform court and simply to learn whats happening to others. If you know of a case or lawsuit not listed, please let us know. Leagle is our main resource.
View decisions by the Federal Circuit States belong to.
NEW: (# Failure to Register Technicality
NEW: Travel Restrictions (Apparently Eff. 2013)
NEW: Border Patrol Checking
NEW: Failure to Register a Sex Offense???
CAUTION: SORNA EFFECTIVE even if state has not enacted it

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

USA -v- Collins

12-9-2014 West Virginia:

USA -v- Collins

Dwaine Allen Collins was convicted of knowingly failing to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). The district court sentenced Collins to 30 months’ imprisonment and ten years of supervised release. On this direct appeal, Collins contests his conviction primarily on the grounds that the government failed to prove an essential element of a SORNA violation: that he knew he had an obligation to register.

In support, he points to comments made by a state court judge in a separate proceeding, which in Collins’s view suggest that his obligation to register had expired. We agree with the district court, however, that the state judge appeared to be giving advice rather than a binding legal opinion. Moreover, there is substantial evidence in the record to support the district court’s conclusion that Collins knowingly avoided an obligation to register as a sex offender. We thus find Collins’s claim unpersuasive and affirm his conviction.

Collins also appeals his sentence. We find his 30-month term of imprisonment, which is within the applicable Guidelines range, to be reasonable and thus affirm the district court’s sentence in that respect. As to the term of supervised release, however, the United States Sentencing Commission recently issued a clarifying amendment stating that a failure to register under SORNA is not a “sex offense” for the purposes of the Guidelines. Consequently, we vacate the supervised release portion of Collins’s sentence and remand for further proceedings.

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For the reasons provided above, we affirm Collins’s conviction and his term of imprisonment, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion as to his term of supervised release.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

California court blocks requirement of sex-offenders to report changes of Internet providers

11-18-2014 California:

Doe, Roe, CA-RSOL -v- Harris

A federal appeals court has continued to block a voter-approved measure requiring registered sex offenders to give authorities a list of their Internet providers and screen names.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday said the requirement violates free speech rights. The ruling upholds a lower court decision in 2013 that put the requirements on hold.

The reporting provision was part of Proposition 35, which 81 percent of voters passed in 2012 and toughened penalties for human trafficking. The harsher prison sentences remain in effect.

But the appeals court said the requirement of sex offenders to report on their Internet activity is too vague and that offenders' anonymity is insufficiently protected. The court also said requiring offenders to report to authorities with 24 hours was too onerous. ..Source.. by The Republic see also

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

US v Bear

This is an excellent instructive case as to when a special condition restricting access to one's own children is appropriate and when it is not appropriate. Mr Bear's circumstances show NO REASON to restrict him from his own children; court agrees. Unfortunately his loses on his other issues.

10-31-2014 Iowa:

US v Bear

Defendant, Wesley A. Bear, pled guilty to one count of failing to register or update a registration as a sex offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250. At sentencing, the district court imposed certain special sex offender conditions of supervised release in addition to its standard conditions of supervised release.

Mr. Bear objected to the conditions restricting his contact with children and requiring him to submit to sex offender mental health assessment and treatment. The district court overruled his objections, and Mr. Bear now appeals.

This case requires us to resolve three disputes. First, Mr. Bear argues it was an abuse of discretion for the district court to impose sex offender conditions where his conviction of the prior sex offense occurred twelve years before this conviction.

Second, Mr. Bear contends the conditions involve a greater deprivation of liberty than reasonably necessary to achieve the purposes of sentencing.

Third, Mr. Bear claims the special conditions are not consistent with pertinent policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.

Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we AFFIRM in part, VACATE in part, and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.



1. Restrictions on Mr. Bear's Contact with Children

Mr. Bear argues the restrictions on his contact with children are improper because they prevent him from being alone with his own children. When a defendant has committed a sex offense against children or other vulnerable victims, general restrictions on contact with children ordinarily do not involve a greater deprivation of liberty than reasonably necessary. United States v. Smith, 606 F.3d 1270, 1282-83 (10th Cir. 2010).

But restrictions on a defendant's contact with his own children are subject to stricter scrutiny. "[T]he relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected," and "a father has a fundamental liberty interest in maintaining his familial relationship with his [children]." United States v. Edgin, 92 F.3d 1044, 1049 (10th Cir. 1996).

Given the importance of this liberty interest, "special conditions that interfere with the right of familial association can do so only in compelling circumstances," Smith, 606 F.3d at 1284, and it is imperative that any such restriction "be especially fine-tuned" to achieve the statutory purposes of sentencing. Edgin, 92 F.3d at 1049.

The present record does not provide compelling evidence that could support restrictions on Mr. Bear's contact with his own children. The government presented no evidence that in the twelve years since Mr. Bear's sex offense conviction he has committed any sexual offense, displayed a propensity to commit future sexual offenses, or exhibited a proclivity toward sexual violence. Nor is there any evidence in the record that Mr. Bear has continuing deviant sexual tendencies, fantasizes about having sex with children, or has otherwise displayed a danger to his own three children.

Under these circumstances, Mr. Bear's 2001 conviction for sex offenses is simply too remote in time, standing alone, to provide compelling evidence justifying infringement upon Mr. Bear's right of familial association. Thus we vacate the conditions limiting Mr. Bear's ability to be at his children's residence and his ability to be alone with his children without supervision.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

IN RE: DETENTION OF John NEW, Jr

11-20-2014 Illinois:

IN RE: DETENTION OF John NEW, Jr. The People of the State of Illinois, Appellant, v. John New, Jr., Appellee.

At issue in this case is whether the circuit court of Cook County erred in admitting certain expert testimony regarding a diagnosis of hebephilia at respondent's civil commitment trial without first conducting an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir.1923) (“Frye hearing”) to determine whether the diagnosis had been generally accepted as a valid mental disorder in the relevant scientific community. For the reasons that follow, we hold that the diagnosis of hebephilia is subject to the Frye standards for the admissibility of novel scientific evidence, and that a hearing is necessary in this case to determine its general acceptance.