United States v. Crowder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-30-2011
  • Case #: 10-30125
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ikuta for the Court; Circuit Judges Tashima and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the “knowingly” provision of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), the government need only prove that a convicted sex offender, who subsequently failed to register or update his or her registration with the state, knew he or she was required to so register and knowingly failed to do so. The government does not need to prove that the offender also knew failure to so register would also violate the provisions of SORNA.

Kevin Crowder, a convicted sex offender in Washington State, was arrested in September 2009 in Montana and found guilty in district court for traveling in interstate commerce and “knowingly failing to register and/or update a registration” as required under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”). 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). Crowder appealed, maintaining that the government failed to plead and sufficiently prove that he knew his registration was required under SORNA. The Court disagreed, holding that under Supreme Court precedent, “knowingly” requires “the government to prove defendant’s knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense,” not that the defendant had knowledge of the law itself. See Bryan v. U.S., 524 U.S. 184, 192-94 (1998). In this instance, Crowder was put on notice that he was required to register as a sex offender via his receipt of a certified copy of his judgment in Washington State, which outlined the registration requirements pursuant to his conviction. Hence, the government was only required to show that Crowder knew he was required to register as a sex offender and knowingly failed to do so; an independent showing that Crowder knew his failure to register also violated SORNA is not required. AFFIRMED.

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