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State v Overstreet

3-19-2013 Louisiana:

State v Overstreet

This case comes to us on appeal from a district court's ruling that La. R.S. 15:541(7)1 and 15:542,2 laws requiring registration for sex offenders, are unconstitutional as applied to a person who pled and was found not guilty by reason of insanity to a sex offense. Having reviewing the record and the applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the district court because the respondent failed to sufficiently particularize any basis for finding the statutes unconstitutional.

... ... ...

The state in the present case contends that respondent has not sufficiently particularized the grounds of his claim that the statutory provision requiring sex offender registration is unconstitutional. The state's contention has merit. This Court has expressed the challenger's burden as a three-step process. First, a party must raise the unconstitutionality in the trial court; second, the unconstitutionality of a statute must be specially pleaded; and third, the grounds outlining the basis of unconstitutionality must be particularized. Further, a district court may not sua sponte rule that a statute is unconstitutional, nor can it declare a statute unconstitutional on grounds other than those asserted by a movant.

At best, respondent merely claimed the law was "arbitrary, capricious and makes no sense" because he was not convicted of a crime, but instead pled not guilty by reason of insanity. He seemed to be claiming an equal protection violation, but never explained the basis of that claimed violation. As a result of this lack of particularization, the state was afforded insufficient opportunity to brief and argue in response.10 In addition, as in Hatton and Bertrand, the trial court's ruling here was based on constitutional grounds not properly raised, and indeed not raised at all, by respondent. Accordingly, we reverse the district court on this basis.

For the reasons stated herein, the judgment of the district court, declaring La. R.S. 15:541(7) and La. R.S. 15:542 unconstitutional as applied to a defendant judged not guilty by reason of insanity, is reversed, and the case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings.


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