Alaska court rules sex offender registration law violates due process

Alaska court rules sex offender registration law violates due process

Alaska’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the state’s sex offender registry violated the due process rights of those convicted of sex crimes in other states, deeming it “too broad and arbitrary when it includes offenders who are not dangerous.”

The court ruled 3-2 in favor of a man, referred to as John Doe, who moved to Alaska after being convicted of a sex crime in another state, local NBC affiliate KTUU reported.

The man argued that the Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act (ASORA) violated his right to privacy, his right to pursue employment and his right to integrate into society.

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“Doe contends that these rights are fundamental and that their infringement can only be justified if the State has a compelling interest and uses the least restrictive means available to vindicate that interest,” the court wrote.

Representatives for Alaska argued that it was in the state’s best interest for public safety to monitor out-of-state offenders, but the court responded by quoting the due process clause in the Alaska Constitution, KTUU reported.

“We have concluded that ASORA furthers a compelling state interest in protecting the public from sex offenders who ‘pose a high risk of reoffending after release from custody,’” the court wrote. “But ASORA is both too broad and arbitrary when it includes offenders who are not dangerous. Since they pose no special risk to the public, their protected liberty interests plainly outweigh any public safety interests that might be furthered by requiring them to register.”

The justices in Anchorage upheld the court’s decision requiring out-of-state offenders to register but found that they must be offered an opportunity to show that they are no longer a danger to the community.

The Alaska Supreme Court did not invalidate the rule but elected to allow the man in the case to file court action attempting to prove he is no longer a public safety risk.