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Rosin v Monken

3-17-2010 New York, Illinois:

Rosin v Monken

After he was required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, Mitchell Rosin brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants failed to give full faith and credit to the March 27, 2003 judgment of a New York court. In that order, the court accepted a plea agreement that did not require Rosin to register as a sex offender in New York.

He contends that Illinois is constitutionally required to give effect to the New York judgment and thus cannot, on the basis of that order, force him to register as a sex offender within its jurisdiction. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that the registration requirement in the New York order was merely stricken, which left the order silent on the subject.

Since the plea agreement did not purport to prevent any state other than New York from registering Rosin as a sex offender, and because any such provision would have been ineffective even if it had been included, we affirm.

The purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause "was to alter the status of the several states as independent foreign sovereignties, each free to ignore obligations created under the laws or by the judicial proceedings of the others, and to make them integral parts of a single nation throughout which a remedy upon a just obligation might be demanded as of right, irrespective of the state of its origin." Baker v. General Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232, 118 S.Ct. 657, 139 L.Ed.2d 580 (1998) (quoting Milwaukee County v. M.E. White Co., 296 U.S. 268, 277, 56 S.Ct. 229, 80 L.Ed. 220 (1935)). By virtue of its "exacting" operation with respect to judgments, the Full Faith and Credit Clause results in "the judgment of the rendering State [gaining] nationwide force." Id. at 233, 118 S.Ct. 657. The primary operational effect of the Clause's application is "for claim and issue preclusion (res judicata) purposes." Id. at 233, 118 S.Ct. 657.

These observations are unremarkable. But it is a profound mistake to jump from them to the conclusion that New York can dictate the manner in which Illinois may protect its citizenry. Illinois's recognition of the New York order does not carry with it an obligation that Illinois enforce that order in the manner which it apparently prescribes. True, it is generally no defense for a state to decline to [599 F.3d 577] recognize a foreign judgment on account of its public policy. See Baker, 522 U.S. at 233, 118 S.Ct. 657 (noting that "our decisions support no roving `public policy exception' to the full faith and credit due judgments") (emphasis original). But an important exception exists. In Baker, the Supreme Court made clear that the Full Faith and Credit Clause cannot be used by one state to interfere impermissibly with the exclusive affairs of another. Baker, 522 U.S. at 239 n. 12, 118 S.Ct. 657 (holding that a Michigan judgment was not entitled to full faith and credit because it impermissibly interfered with Missouri's control of litigation brought by parties who were not before the Michigan court).

Illinois need not dispense with its preferred mechanism for protecting its citizenry by virtue merely of a foreign judgment that envisioned less restrictive requirements' being imposed on the relevant sex offender. Illinois, as a state of the Union, has police power over the health and welfare of its citizens. See Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 31, 5 S.Ct. 357, 28 L.Ed. 923 (1885) (observing that a state's police power permits it to enact laws promoting "the health, peace, morals, education, and good order of the people"); United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 747, 107 S.Ct. 2095, 95 L.Ed.2d 697 (1987) ("There is no doubt that preventing danger to the community is a legitimate regulatory goal."). The Supreme Court has regularly upheld states' exercise of their police powers to protect their citizens against sexual predators. See, e.g., Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 123 S.Ct. 1140, 155 L.Ed.2d 164 (2003); Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 117 S.Ct. 2072, 138 L.Ed.2d 501 (1997). As in Baker, the New York court in the present case "cannot command obedience elsewhere on a matter the [New York] court lacks authority to resolve." Baker, 522 U.S. at 240, 118 S.Ct. 657. New York has no authority to dictate to Illinois the manner in which it can best protect its citizenry from those convicted of sex offenses.

Nor is this a case in which a state's police power conflicts with the U.S. Constitution or an Act of Congress, for this would require state law to give way by virtue of the Supremacy Clause. See, e.g., Morris v. Jones, 329 U.S. 545, 552-53, 67 S.Ct. 451, 91 L.Ed. 488 (1947). The Full Faith and Credit Clause was enacted to preclude the same matters' being relitigated in different states as recalcitrant parties evade unfavorable judgments by moving elsewhere. It was never intended to allow one state to dictate the manner in which another state protects its populace. This being the case, there is no tension between Illinois's police power and the Full Faith and Credit Clause here. As a result, New York could promise Rosin only that he would never have to register as a sex offender within its own jurisdiction. Rosin could not bargain for a promise from New York as to what other states would do based on his guilty plea to sexual abuse in the third degree, for New York had no power to make such a promise.

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