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Smith -v- Louisiana

1-24-2012 Louisiana:

Smith v Louisiana
(Supreme Court)

Smith v Louisiana
(1 Cir Court of Appeals, 3-26-2010 Unpublished)

Smith v Louisiana
(Trial Court)

From Supreme Court Decision:
This case presents questions of statutory interpretation regarding amendments to Louisiana's sex offender registration statutes, La. Rev. Stat. 15:540 et seq. We granted the State of Louisiana's writ application to determine whether the court of appeal erred in finding that the amendments did not apply to the offender in this case, because application of those amended statutes would violate the prohibition set forth in the ex post facto clause of the state and federal constitutions.

The offender in this case was convicted of two sex offenses prior to the enactment of the amendments to the sex offender registration statutes but before his initial registration period had expired. The amendments at issue here increased the duration an offender is obligated to register and created a new requirement for sex offender designation codes on drivers' licenses and identification cards.

For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the ruling of the court of appeal, which found the 1999 amendment to former La. Rev. Stat. 15:542.1(H), providing for a lifetime requirement to register for multiple offenders, did not apply to persons convicted of a sex offense prior to July 1997, and that the restriction code to be placed on an offender's driver's license or identification card requirements added by the legislature in 2006 also did not apply to the offender in this case.

(LifeTime Registration, RSO Designation on License, Carry Spec. ID Card)

Judges Overturn Sex Offender Rule

2-2-2011 Louisiana:

An appellate court has ruled that the state cannot require a West Feliciana Parish man to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life or carry a special driver’s license and identification card.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of Louisiana’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal overturns a District Court judge’s ruling against Jimmy L. Smith, who was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile and carnal knowledge of a juvenile when he was 19.

Charles Griffin II, Smith’s attorney, said Smith served his sentence for the 1995 convictions, completed his probation and complied with post-release registration requirements for a 10-year period after he was released from prison.

Smith said authorities told him in 2009 that he would have to register again as a sex offender for the rest of his life because the law had changed after he was convicted.

Smith complied, but challenged the order in 20th Judicial District Court. Unless the state decides to challenge the ruling, Griffin said, Smith will be able to get a driver’s license without “sex offender” written on it in orange letters.

Driver’s licenses for sex offenders must be renewed annually.

The opinion, issued Friday by Judges Vanessa G. Whipple, Jefferson D. Hughes III and Jewel E. “Duke” Welch, says case records show that Smith fulfilled his duty to register as a sex offender for the period of time that was applicable when he was convicted.

The opinion says Louisiana’s version of “Megan’s Law,” has a legitimate civil purpose to alert and protect the public from sex offenders who might offend again.

In Smith’s case, however, the amendments adopted after his conviction are “so punitive in effect as to transform what was intended as a civil remedy into an additional punishment for him.”

The retroactive application of amendments to the law violates the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions, the opinion says. ..Source.. by James Minton

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