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State v Reiter

10-13-1999 Iowa:

State v Reiter

Defendant, Earl John Reiter, appeals from the judgment and sentence entered upon his conviction for failure to comply with the sex offender registry in violation of Iowa Code sections 692A.3 and 692A.7(1) (Supp.1995). He was convicted following a stipulated trial to the court.

He contends the district court erred in interpreting the penalty clause for "willful failure to register" under section 692A.7(1) as including failure to notify the sheriff of a change of address.

We hold the penalty clause in section 692A.7 for "willful failure to register" does not prescribe a penalty for a failure to notify the sheriff of a "change of residence."

We reverse the district court judgment and sentence.

... ... ...

We must reject the State's position and the district court's reasoning. The legislature did not say the duty to notify of a change of address was a part of or was in fact a registration. In enacting section 692A.7, the legislature only gave warning of a penalty for violation of the duty "to register as required." It gave no warning that the failure to give notice of an address change carried a criminal penalty. If the legislature intends to punish a sex offender for a failure to notify of a change of address, it must say so.

For all the reasons stated, we believe section 692A.7(1) does not provide a penalty for defendant's failure to notify the sheriff of Osceola County of his change of address. Therefore, we reverse the defendant's judgment and sentence.


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