Sunday, November 8, 2015

SCOTUS grants cert in SORNA case from Kansas

Last Friday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Nichols, a federal SORNA case arising from Kansas. The question of statutory interpretation at issue is whether a sex offender who moves to a foreign jurisdiction in which SORNA registration is not required must report his move (i.e., update his registration) in the jurisdiction in which he previously resided and registered. The facts---and the circuit split that led to the cert. grant---were succinctly stated in the petition for certiorari:

Two men lived on opposite sides of the Missouri River in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, one in Missouri within the Eighth Circuit, the other in Kansas within the Tenth Circuit. Both men . . . were required to register under SORNA. Both men traveled from their homes to the Kansas City International Airport, flew to the same foreign country to reside, and thereafter did not update their registrations in the jurisdictions they had left. On these facts, the Eighth Circuit ruled in United States v. Lunsford, 725 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 2013), that the failure to update a registration does not violate SORNA. The Tenth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion in Petitioner’s case, on the basis of its earlier decision in United States v. Murphy, 664 F.3d 798 (10th Cir. 2011).

The SCOTUSblog case page is up and running. Watch for arguments in early 2016.

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