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Doe v Bredesen

11-16-2007 Tennessee:

Doe v Bredesen

Plaintiff-appellant John Doe pleaded guilty in the Criminal Court of Knox County, Tennessee, to attempted aggravated kidnapping in violation of TENN.CODE ANN. §§ 39-12-101 and 31-13-304, and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure in violation of TENN.CODE ANN. § 39-13-527. After Doe was convicted and sentenced, the Tennessee Legislature enacted the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004 ("the Registration Act"), TENN.CODE ANN. § 40-39-201 et seq., which became effective on August 1, 2004. The Registration Act reclassified Doe as a violent sexual offender, see TENN. CODE ANN. § 40-39-202(24)(j), and required him to comply with the requirements of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ("TBI") Sexual Offender Registry for the rest of his life, see TENN.CODE ANN. § 40-39-207(g)(1)(B).

The Tennessee Legislature also enacted the Tennessee Serious and Violent Sex Offender Monitoring Pilot Project Act ("the Monitoring Act"), TENN.CODE ANN. § 40-39-301 et seq., which became effective July 1, 2004.1 The Monitoring Act authorized the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole ("the board") to subject a convicted sexual offender to a satellite-based monitoring program for the duration of his probation. TENN.CODE ANN. § 40-39-303. In August 2005, Doe's probation officer notified him that he would be required to wear a global positioning ("GPS") device at all times beginning in September 2005.

Doe brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee ("the district court") alleging that because he was convicted before the effective date of the Registration and Monitoring Acts, the application of the Acts' requirements to him violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 3, Clause 3) and the Tennessee Constitution, as well as his right to procedural due process and his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and his right to privacy under both constitutions. The government moved to dismiss the complaint under FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted, and Doe filed an opposition brief that supported only the Ex Post Facto claims. Doe's opposition brief also sought to raise a claim that was not in his complaint — that application of the Registration and Monitoring Acts to him violated his plea agreement.

The district court ruled that Doe's ex post facto claims were meritless, the government had not breached the plea agreement, and Doe had abandoned his other claims. The district court dismissed the complaint, and Doe timely appealed.

For the reasons that follow, we affirm. In doing so, we hold, inter alia, that the Registration Act (TENN.CODE ANN. § 40-39-201 et seq.) and the Monitoring Act (TENN.CODE ANN. 40-39-301 et seq.) do not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.



See: Severing the Invisible Leash: A Challenge to Tennessee’s Sex Offender Monitoring Act


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