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Wisconsin v Smith

3-19-2010 Wisconsin:

Wisconsin v Smith
780 N.W.2d 90 (2010)

This is a review of a published decision of the court of appeals,1 which affirmed the decision of the Brown County Circuit Court, Richard J. Dietz, Judge. The circuit court concluded that Wis. Stat. § 301.45 (2005-06),2 Wisconsin's sex offender registration statute, was constitutional as applied to Smith and denied Smith's motion to dismiss the charge of failure to comply with sex offender registration. Smith appealed and the court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's decision. Smith petitioned this court for review, which we accepted. We affirm the court of appeals' decision.

¶ 2 This case requires us to decide whether Wis. Stat. § 301.45, Wisconsin's sex offender registration statute, is unconstitutional as applied to Smith on the grounds that it violates his substantive due process and equal protection rights. We conclude that Wis. Stat. § 301.45 is constitutional as applied to Smith because requiring Smith to register under § 301.45 is rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. Smith has failed to prove that the registration requirements of § 301.45 as applied to him are unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.

On March 12, 2001, Smith pled guilty to the charge of false imprisonment in violation of Wis. Stat. § 940.30 (1999-2000).3

According to the criminal complaint, Smith and others forced a minor to ride around with them in a vehicle in order to collect a drug debt from the minor's friend. Even though the complaint alleges that Smith and at least one other person physically threatened the minor in order to force him to assist in the search, there is no allegation that the false imprisonment entailed anything sexual.

However, under the unambiguous language of Wis. Stat. § 301.45, Smith is required to register as a sex offender because he was convicted of false imprisonment of a minor.4 Because he failed to so register, Smith was charged on December 14, 2005, with violating Wis. Stat. § 301.45(2)(g).5

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