This Court rejects the other Does' arguments that Missouri's Megan's Law violates their due process and equal protection rights under the Missouri Constitution. This Court further rejects their arguments that the law violates Missouri's constitutional prohibitions of ex post facto laws, bills of attainder, and special laws. The only respect in which this Court finds merit to the Does' challenge to Missouri's Megan's Law is an extremely narrow one. This invalidation is very limited in nature.
SVPs are still fully required to register and comply with all aspects of Megan's Law because their obligations are based on findings that they are SVPs and not merely on pre-Megan's Law criminal conduct. Persons who pled or were found guilty after January 1, , or who committed additional crimes subject to Megan's Law after that date, are fully subject to Megan's Law's relevant requirements. Further, even as to those Does who may not be required to fulfill the affirmative duties imposed directly on them by Megan's Law, Missouri's constitutional prohibition on laws retrospective in their operation does not prohibit others from publishing information about them in the manner permitted by Megan's Law.
The Does are a group of eleven offenders who pled or were found guilty of a wide variety of crimes that are sexual in nature or involve abuse of children, as discussed in more detail in section III. None of them have been adjudicated to be SVPs. The Does bring their claims under the Missouri Constitution, which they argue offers broader protections from sex offender registration requirements than does the United States Constitution. The Does also argue Megan's Law violates their substantive due process liberty right to privacy and avoidance of stigma, as well as what they call their liberty interest in exercising personal choice and freedom once they have completed their sentences, probation or parole.
Alternatively, they argue that the law's restrictions and requirements violate their rights under Missouri's equal protection clause because they apply indiscriminately both to those convicted of serious or violent sexual crimes and to those who pled guilty to minor crimes to avoid the embarrassment of a trial and received only a suspended imposition of sentence SIS , without proof of future dangerousness.
Finally, they argue it is an unconstitutional special law or a bill of attainder. The case was submitted based on a stipulation of the parties supplemented by other testimony and evidence provided to the court during the litigation process. The trial court entered judgment against the Does on all claims. They appeal directly to this Court because they challenge the validity of a Missouri statute.
V, sec. It only applies to persons who have convictions. States were required to enact registration statutes within 3 years. Missouri first enacted its version of Megan's Law in , effective January 1, Megan's Law imposes registration and notification requirements on persons committing crimes listed in chapter , certain other sexual crimes, and certain crimes that are not inherently sexual in nature but the legislature believes to be associated with a risk of sexual offenses against minors, such as child kidnapping.
Constitutionality of sex offender registries in the United States
Beaird, 28 S. Connecticut Dept. Safety v. Doe, U. Prior to , Missouri's law went beyond federal registration requirements by requiring registration not just by persons who committed crimes in the range of those listed in the federal SORA, 3 but also by persons convicted of crimes such as parental kidnapping or child abuse and by those who were not convicted but pled guilty and received an SIS. Compare sec.
These offenses have never required registration under the acts of most other states.
Sex Offender Registry Fees Fact Guide by Once Fallen
The revisions also significantly modify the length of time for which registration is required. Those who have committed the most serious offenses or who are repeat offenders must continue to register for life. And, if an offender was 19 or younger and the victim was 13 or older, the offender may petition for removal from the registry two years from the date he or she was required to register.
Construction of a statute is a question of law, which this Court reviews de novo. Bolin, S. See also State ex rel. Liberty Sch. Holden, S. The Does assert that enforcement of Megan's Law should be enjoined under Missouri's Constitution even if that law does not violate comparable provisions of the United States equal protection, due process or ex post facto clauses. Rushing, S. I, sec. This Court rejects the Does' invitation to interpret the Missouri due process, equal protection or ex post facto clauses more broadly than comparable federal constitutional provisions here.
The Does have identified no reason grounded either in the language of Missouri's Constitution or the history of its enactment to believe that its framers intended these clauses to be interpreted more broadly than the nearly identical provisions in the United States Constitution. This Court will interpret these phrases consistently with their interpretation under federal law. But, as discussed in section III. The Does acknowledge that the United States Supreme Court has upheld Alaska's version of Megan's Law in the face of a claim that it violates the bar on ex post facto laws in the United States Constitution.
That Court also has rejected a claim that Connecticut's Megan's Law violates affected persons' procedural due process rights by making them subject to the act's notification and registration requirements without a hearing to determine their future dangerousness. Connecticut, U. This Court reaffirms R. Miller, F. Flores, U. Williams, U. Ewing, U. City of Harker Heights, Tex. Nixon v. Powell, S. Further, if a particular constitutional amendment provides specific protection for the right asserted, such as First Amendment free speech rights, the alleged violation will be analyzed under that amendment rather than under the more amorphous concepts of substantive due process.
County of Sacramento v. Lewis, U. Claimed violations of a right to personal privacy, to procreate, and similar rights not specifically set out in the constitution but inherent in the concept of ordered liberty are analyzed under substantive due process principles. See Wash. Glucksberg, U. Oliver, U. Here, the Does allege Megan's Law impinges on what they call their fundamental right to exercise personal choice and freedom.
They also argue that it violates their right to privacy and freedom from unwanted publicity. Nothing in Missouri law or in substantive due process principles supports the Does' assertions. The cases cited involve physical imprisonment or other restriction of the person. See United States v. Salerno, U. Missouri's registration and notification requirements are not comparable. Compare In re Norton, S.
More relevant are cases upholding the right of legislatures to impose continuing civil disabilities on felons even after they have completed their terms, such as restrictions on voting or certain employment, out of a concern for public safety.
These are permissible restrictions of a person's personal choices and freedoms. It directly restricted only their right to live near a school. To hold as fundamental any incidental effect of a law on family would extend substantive due process far beyond its intended reach. Miller refused to do so. As in Miller, this Court finds that to accept the Does' arguments would extend substantive due process principles into the type of unchartered area where the United States Supreme Court has cautioned courts not to tread.
Collins, U. The Does have not identified a fundamental right to be free from all governmental regulation and have failed to provide a rationale for extending such a right. The Does also claim the provisions violate their fundamental rights to privacy and to be free from the stigma associated with registration and notification under Megan's Law. It is undeniable that the law requires that the Does provide, and allows authorities to publish, various types of information.
Criminal Justice Resources: Sex Offender Residency Restrictions
The information available to the public under Megan's Law prior to the revisions included a registered person's name, address, photograph and the crime the person committed. But, the Does admit such information is already in the public domain.
See R. Doerhoff Surgical Servs. Maryland, U. Missouri has a legitimate interest in disseminating public information in the interest of safety and law enforcement efforts.
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The safety of children is a legitimate state interest, Miller, F. Megan's Law bears a rational relation to this legitimate state interest and is not violative of substantive due process principles.
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Simply put, this constitutional protection, like that in the Fourteenth Amendment, U. Webb, S.
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