United States v. Juvenile Male

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 01-25-2012
  • Case #: 09-30330; 09-30273; 09-30365
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Wardlaw for the Court; Circuit Judges Gould and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

Both the statutory text and legislative history of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification ACT ("SORNA") show that the registration requirements for juveniles convicted of aggravated sex offenses do not violate the confidentiality provisions of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act ("FJDA").

Juvenile members from three tribes pled guilty to aggravated sexual abuse with children. In three consolidated cases, they appealed the conditions of their probation or supervision registration required under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"). Defendants argue that the registration requirements violate the confidentiality provisions of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act ("FJDA"). On appeal, the Ninth Circuit noted that the two statutes were in conflict because SORNA’s registration provision makes otherwise confidential FJDA information public. Under the Ninth Circuit's statutory interpretation rules, and because the statutes are in conflict, the later enacted and more specific provision governs. Thus, as SORNA unambiguously mandates the registration of juveniles over the age of 14 who are convicted of certain aggravated sex crimes, it governs. Further, Congress clearly stated it’s intent in enacting SORNA to limit confidentiality in the cases of certain juvenile sex offenders. The Ninth Circuit held that the registration provisions were constitutionally sound because in enacting SORNA, Congress intentionally removed juveniles from the confidentiality provisions of the FJDA. The Ninth Circuit further rejected all of defendant’s claims for constitutional violations. AFFIRMED.

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