Juvenile offender sex registry declared illegal
A provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that requires former juvenile offenders to register with states and tribal governments violates the U.S. Constitution, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.

The court said the priority of the juvenile justice system, generally, is to rehabilitate young offenders and protect their privacy. Forcing them to register after their cases have been adjudicated punishes them for a crime after the fact, the decision said.

"The retroactive application of SORNA’s provision requiring registration and reporting by former juvenile offenders imposes immense burdens, not only through onerous in-person registration and reporting requirements, but, more important, through the publication and dissemination of highly prejudicial juvenile adjudication records of individuals who have committed no offenses since their adolescence — records that would otherwise remain sealed," the court said, referring to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which is part of the Adam Walsh Act.

"The juvenile registration requirement, for the first time under federal law, exposes thousands of former juvenile offenders to public notoriety and subjects them to lifetime condemnation and ostracism by their community," the court said. "The effects of this exposure are wide-ranging, and likely include serious housing, employment, and educational disadvantages."

The 9th Circuit reached a different conclusion in an adult offender case that it decided on August 25.

9th Circuit Decision:
US v. Juvenile Male (September 10, 2009)

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

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DOJ extends deadline for Adam Walsh implementation (6/4)
Montana tribes recognized for sex offender tracking (5/8)
Umatilla Chair: Sovereignty loss under Adam Walsh (4/1)
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