Sex Offenders and Ex Post Facto Laws (Part 3)

by | Sep 15, 2019 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Judge Messano continued in relevant part: Additionally, many federal and state courts have concluded that subsequent amendments to an otherwise constitutional remedial registration scheme, which make obligations more onerous than when the crime was committed or when registration was initially imposed, may result in ex post facto violations, even though the amendments did not increase the direct penal consequence for non-compliance. See, e.g., Snyder, 834 F.3d at 698, 705-06 (concluding retroactive application of more restrictive registration requirements in amended Michigan law were punitive and violated ex post facto clause); Commonwealth v. Muniz, 164 A.3d 1189, 1193, 1218 (Pa. 2017) (more onerous lifetime registration enacted after the defendant committed the crime, but before he was sentenced, violated ex post facto clause); Doe v. State, 111 A.3d 1077, 1100 (N.H. 2015) (aggregate effects of amendments to previously constitutional regulatory scheme, including lifetime registration without review, made the legislation punitive); Starkey v. Okla. Dep’t of Corr., 305 P.3d 1004, 1030 (Okla. 2013) (finding retroactive application of lifetime registration was punitive and violated ex post facto clause); State v. Williams, 952 N.E.2d 1108, 1113 (Ohio 2011) (amendment that increased length of registration period violated state ex post facto prohibition when applied to a defendant who committed the crime before effective date of amendment); Commonwealth v. Baker, 295 S.W.3d 437, 446-47 (Ky. 2009) (residency restriction too punitive when applied retroactively); State v. Letalien, 985 A.2d 4, 26 (Me. 2009) (retroactive application of lifetime registration violated ex post facto clause).

The analogous ex post facto clause of the New Jersey State Constitution is found at Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 3. It reads: The Legislature shall not pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or depriving a party of any remedy for enforcing a contract which existed when the contract was made.