Sex offenders do not need to register if they were convicted before enactment of a 2006 federal law, unless the attorney general makes that specific finding, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, says Courthouse News Service. The ruling offers relief to Billy Joe Reynolds who pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly failing to register and update a registration, in violation of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Reynolds had spent four years in prison years earlier stemming from his 2001 conviction of a Missouri sex offense. Though Reynolds registered as a Missouri sex offender when he got out of prison, he moved to Pennsylvania in 2007 without updating his Missouri registration information or registering in Pennsylvania. SORNA became law in July 2006, but it was not for another seven months that the attorney general issued interim rules applying the registration requirements to “all sex offenders, including sex offenders convicted of the offense for which registration is required prior to the enactment of that act.”