In Millard v. Camper, — F.3d — , 2020 WL 4875290 (10th Cir. 2020), the Tenth Circuit reversed an unprecedented ruling in which the district court had held Colorado’s sex offender registration act to be unconstitutional on multiple grounds. Following both Supreme Court and Tenth Circuit precedent, the circuit court rejected plaintiffs’ as-applied constitutional challenges based on cruel and unusual punishment and substantive due process. The court also overturned the lower court’s ruling that one plaintiff had been deprived of procedural due process by state courts, because the federal district court lacked appellate jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to hear a challenge to those state-court decisions.
History of Federal and State Sex Offender Registries
States began adopting sex-offender registries in the 1990s in response to high-profile sexual assaults and murders by persons with prior histories of sex offenses. Id. at *1. In 1994, Congress conditioned certain federal funding on states enacting such laws. “‘By 1996, every State, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government had enacted some variation of’” a sex-offender registry. Id. (quoting Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 90 (2003)). In 2006, Congress adopted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), in which it created a nationwide sex-offender registry and required states and registrants to provide registry information to the federal government.
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