The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a law requiring sex offenders to update their registration when crossing state lines does not automatically apply to those who committed their crimes before the law was enacted.
The high court ruled 7-2 that Billy Joe Reynolds can challenge his arrest for violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act also known as the Adam Walsh Act (AWA), according to the Associated Press. States were required to implement the Act or be subject to loss of federal criminal justice grant money.
Reynolds was sentenced to 18 month in prison for moving from Missouri to Pennsylvania and not registering as a sex offender in his new state. He challenged the AWA saying his sex offense was before the registration act’s rules were put into place. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out his lawsuit without ruling on the merits of the claim.
The high court overturned that decision. But Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, saying the law applied to pre-Act offenders, reported the Associated Press.
The Supreme Court has bounced the case back to the Third Circuit. The Circuits are split on whether the law applies to sex offenders covicted before the AWA.
To read more: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/regional/s_778049.html
Read the full opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-6549.pdf