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State -v- Letalein

This decision ONLY applies to CERTAIN Maine registrants (See highlights below)

12-22-2009 Maine:

State -v- Letalein
(985 A.2d 4 (2009))

The State of Maine appeals from a judgment dismissing a criminal complaint charging Eric S. Letalien with failure to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 1999 (SORNA of 1999) (Class D), 34-A M.R.S. § 11227(1) (2008). The District Court (Lewiston, Stanfill, J.) concluded that the retroactive application of SORNA of 1999, as applied to Letalien, violates the prohibition against ex post facto laws contained in both the United States and Maine Constitutions.

The State asserts, among other things, that the trial court erred in conducting its ex post facto analysis of SORNA of 1999 on an as-applied basis and that a proper facial examination of SORNA of 1999 demonstrates that because the statute is civil in intent and effect, it may be applied retroactively without violating ex post facto principles.

We agree that the determination of the constitutionality of the retroactive application of SORNA of 1999 depends on a facial examination of the statute, and not on an as-applied analysis as we previously suggested in Doe v. District Attorney, 2007 ME 139, 932 A.2d 552.

We conclude that the statute imposes an ex post facto punishment as to offenders sentenced in the years before the effective date of SORNA of 1999 for whom registration was a required part of their sentence and who were subsequently made subject to the more burdensome requirements of SORNA of 1999 after its effective date of September 18, 1999. We therefore affirm the judgment.
Note: It appears that Maine allows its judges to -sentence- a defendant to the registry. This is rather unique!

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