Oral argument: Oct. 3, 2011
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Billy Joe Reynolds, a registered sex offender, was convicted for failing to update his registration upon moving from Missouri to Pennsylvania. Under the newly enacted Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), sex offenders are required to update the federal registry within three days of a change of residence. An Interim Rule issued by the Attorney General applied the statute retroactively to all sex offenders convicted before SORNA’s enactment, including Reynolds. Reynolds challenged the legality of the Interim Rule but the circuit court dismissed his case for lack of standing. In the current suit, Reynolds argues that SORNA’s registration requirements are not applicable to individuals with pre-SORNA convictions. Reynolds adds that the Interim Rule made SORNA’s registration requirements applicable to him, thus giving him standing to challenge the Rule. The Supreme Court's decision will determine whether pre-SORNA sex offenders can state a claim against the Interim Rule, thus potentially delaying the government’s efforts in creating an effective national sex offender registry system. The decision may also prevent the government from issuing harsh new registration requirements without notice to individuals in Reynolds’s situation.