9th Circuit upholds Adam Walsh Act registration
Provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that require sex offenders to register with states and tribal governments do not violate the U.S. Constitution, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Phillip William George was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor on a reservation in Idaho. He served his sentence but was indicted after he failed to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which is part of the Adam Walsh Act.

George argued that the registration provisions weren't valid because the state of Washington, where he moved to after leaving Idaho, hadn't implemented its system. He also said the registration requirement violates the U.S. Constitution by punishing him for a crime retroactively.

The 9th Circuit rejected both arguments. Although states and tribes have been given more time to develop their registries, the court said the law doesn't require them to be in place.

"There is no clear direction from Congress instructing that an individual’s obligation to register is dependent on a state’s implementation of SORNA," the decision stated.

The court also said failing to register is an ongoing offense, not a one-time crime. That means the law doesn't violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"We interpret the violation of the sex offender registration requirement as a continuing offense," the court said.

Get the Story:
Offender registry cases resumed (AP 8/28)

9th Circuit Decision:
US v. George (August 25, 2009)

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