Alaska Supreme Court says state's sex offender registry laws are unconstitutional
The Alaska Supreme Court says the Alaska Sexual Offender Registration Act is unconstitutional.
ASORA requires sex offenders to register with law enforcement 30 days before they're released from incarceration or within a day of a conviction where the sentence doesn't include jail time. They're also required to periodically reregister.
In an opinion handed down Friday morning, the court wrote that it worked to answer two specific questions:
- Can the state’s registration requirements be imposed on sex offenders who move to Alaska after committing sex offenses in another state?
- Does Alaska’s law requiring all sex offenders to register violate due process?
The court determined that the answer to both questions is yes. It voted 3-2 that the law is unconstitutional when it requires all offenders to register, absent a hearing in which an offender may demonstrate he or she is not dangerous.
“Our decision requiring an individualized risk-assessment hearing is based on the judicial power,” the court wrote in its opinion. “We have employed this authority in a number of cases in which we mandated a hearing when none was required by statute, or was actually prohibited by statute where constitutionally protected interests were threatened by state action.”
The opinion also reads that a majority of states now provide hearings in which registrants can be relieved of registrations and obligations.
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