Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicago Criminal lawyer comments on the sex offender plea agreement that doesn't hold up in court

This Chicago Criminal lawyer has posted here, here, and here about sex offenders. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has recently affirmed a ruling by Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Essentially, the ruling says just because your original agreement doesn’t require registering as a sex offender doesn’t mean that all states must abide by it.

Mitchell Rosin v. Jonathon E. Monken, et. al, No. 08-4132
The appellant in the present case may consider his situation to be somewhat unjust. Rosin, having pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of non-consensual sexual contact in New York under assurances that he would not be required to register, has nevertheless been made subject to mandatory life-long registration by Illinois. He has also been required to leave his desired residence of eight years.

Nevertheless, that Illinois’s sex-offense registration laws may be draconian in the current application does not render them invalid. Rosin contends, with apparent reasonableness, that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires Illinois to recognize the New York Order of Probation. See Matsushita Electric v. Epstein, 516 U.S. 367, 373 (1996); Kremer v. Chemical Construction Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 481-82 (1982); Licari v. City of Chicago, 298 F.3d 664, 666 (7th Cir. 2002). But he then goes a step further by arguing that the New York order controls the manner in which Illinois can provide protection within its own borders. In particular, Rosin asserts that Illinois is constitutionally prohibited from requiring him to register as a sex offender on the basis of his 2003 conviction. He maintains this position despite the conspicuous absence in the order of any provision relieving him of an obligation to register. Nor does the order purport to prevent any other state from requiring him to register.

The absence of such language is dispositive, for without it there is no judgment to which Illinois is required to afford full faith and credit. The printed provision in the Order that would require Rosin to register in New York as a sex offender was simply crossed out. No affirmative provision was added. Despite Rosin’s protestations to the contrary, this section’s being eliminated cannot fairly be construed as an attempt by New York to preclude other states from requiring him to register. And, of course, New York has no extra-territorial jurisdiction to exercise police power in Illinois. See, e.g., Bigelow v. Virginia, 421 U.S. 809, 827-28 (1975).
This will add one more layer of complexity to plea agreements for defense lawyers. I don’t think most of us would think Full Faith and Credit would not apply in an agreement such as the plaintiff’s.

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