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US v Arnold

Notice what the court DID NOT address. Why?
1-24-2014 Mississippi:

US v Arnold

Luther Arnold appeals pro se the denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion, claiming that the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA") compel his speech in violation of the First Amendment. We affirm.

n 1994, Arnold pleaded guilty of rape, incest, and homosexual acts in Madison County, Tennessee. As a result of the convictions, he was required to register as a sex offender pursuant to SORNA.1 In 2011, he moved from Marshall County, Mississippi, to Tennessee but did not (a) notify Marshall County of his move, (b) update his registration with Mississippi, or (c) register as a sex offender in Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, he was charged, and pleaded guilty of, failure to register as a sex offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a).2

Arnold did not file a direct appeal but collaterally challenged his sentence using § 2255.3 We granted a certificate of appealability, allowing Arnold to argue on appeal that "SORNA is unconstitutional because the registration requirements violate his right to free speech . . . ."4

We have not addressed whether SORNA's registration requirements violate the First Amendment's prohibition of compelled speech.5 [(5)Cf. Hersh v. United States ex rel. Mukasey, 553 F.3d 743, 765 (5th Cir. 2008) ("The First Amendment protects compelled speech as well as compelled silence."). We therefore begin by discussing West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) and Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977), the relevant Supreme Court precedent on compelled speech. We then turn to related circuit-court precedent.

... ... ...

Arnold has not urged that SORNA either requires him (a) to affirm a religious, political, or ideological belief he disagrees with or (b) to be a moving billboard for a governmental ideological message. In fact, it appears that Congress enacted SORNA as a means to protect the public from sex offenders by providing a uniform mechanism to identify those convicted of certain crimes.10 Barnette and Maynard do not therefore require us to conclude that the government has unlawfully compelled Arnold's speech.

Our limited sister-court precedent further supports this view. The logic of Sindel extends to the present case: When the government, to protect the public, requires sex offenders to register their residence, it conducts an "essential operation[] of [the] government," just as it does when it requires individuals to disclose information for tax collection. And as Cutshall notes, the Constitution does not provide Arnold "with a right to keep his registry information private."

The judgment based on the order denying Arnold's § 2255 motion is AFFIRMED.

Arnold's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED.

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