The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act [SORNA] Is A Constitutional Mess

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The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act [SORNA] Is A Constitutional Mess

In 2006 (the year I was arrested), Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), wholly rewrote the federal standards for sex offender registration and notification. It also created a new baseline of sex offender registration and notification standards for jurisdictions to implement. SORNA also established a 3-tier system:

  • Tier I offenders must appear once per year for 15 years
  • Tier II offenders must appear every six months for 25 years
  • Tier III offenders must appear every three months for life

Since the enactment, only 18 states have substantially implemented SORNA’s requirements. Courts have also discussed the constitutionality of SORNA and if the Act is considered punishment vs. administrative. Furthermore, there is often mass confusion on how SORNA operates in each state and what this means to individuals convicted of felony sex offenses.

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