The website explained that the law's necessities turned on a person's finding of guilt alone a fact that a person had already had a procedurally protected occasion to challenge. Even if the person could show that he was not liable to be presently harmful, Connecticut had determined that the registry knowledge of all sex offenders had to be openly revealed. The offender had relied only on procedural due process, not on the substantive part of the Fourteenth Amendment's safeguards.
In a 9-0 decision the judgment was reversed. In an opinion by Rehnquist, Ch. J., joined by O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., it was held that: (1) The Connecticut law did not infringe procedural due process, under the Fourteenth Amendment, by failing to permit affected people, prior to their registry information being revealed to the public, an investigation to establish whether the offenders were probable to be presently dangerous, because even if such revelation would dispossess the people of a liberty importance, procedural due process did not necessitate the people to have an occasion to establish a truth that was not of substance to the state's statutory idea, where the state had determined that the registry condition would be founded on the truth of prior finding of guilt, not the truth of present dangerousness. Justice Stevens, in a concurring opinion articulated the outlook that even though the registration responsibilities imposed on convicted sex offenders by laws such as Connecticut's affected a constitutionally sheltered interest in liberty the registration and publication penalties, under such state laws, to a person found guilty of a sex crime were an allowable part of the penalty for this class of crimes; and in regards to such a person who was found guilty of a crime committed after the effectual date of such a rule, there would be no infringement of procedural due process, so long as the person was given a constitutionally sufficient trial.
Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (U.S. 2003)
In the case of Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, two individuals, each of whom had been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor prior to the Alaska statute's ratification, along with the wife of one of these criminals, filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska; and sought a pronouncement that, under provisions including the Federal Constitution's Art I, 10, cl 1 barring against ex post facto laws, the Alaska statute was void as applied to the two offenders. However, the District Court decided summary judgment against the three individuals.
The Act necessitated the criminals to register with the state, to supply a wide variety of personal information such as their appearance, whereabouts, job, and conditions of their finding of guilt, and to inform the state of any alterations in the registration information. Respondents argued that the Act was penalizing in nature, and therefore represented retroactive punishment in infringement of the Ex Post Facto Clause, but the administrators argued that the Act was a non-punitive regulatory plan put into place for the defense of the public. The United States Supreme Court found that the Act was non-punitive, and its retroactive appliance therefore did not infringe the Ex Post Facto Clause. The Act was evidently proposed as a civil, non-punitive way of recognizing prior offenders for the defense of the public, correctly founded on the high occurrence of recidivism of such people.
On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in overturning and in ordering a remand, expressed the view that the Alaska statute violated the ex post facto prohibition in Art I, 10, cl 1, as related to people whose crimes had been carried out prior to the statute's ratification, for the Court of Appeals reasoned that even though the Alaska legislature had planned that this statute would provide a non-punitive and civil regulatory scheme, the statute's effects were punitive. On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court overturned and remanded in a 6-3 decision. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, and joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, and Justice O'Connor, Scalia, and Thomas, it was established that the Alaska statute did not violate the Art I, 10, cl 1 prohibition against ex post facto laws when the statute was retroactively applied to offenders who had been convicted before the statute's enactment, because the statute was non-punitive.
Conn. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Doe, 538 U.S. 1 (U.S. 2003). Retrieved October 28, 2010, from Find Law Web site: