The US DOJ updates this publication each July.  Previous year’s issues have been written up.  Even if covered already, please find a reminder to take a look at this document.  Recent case decisions and the anticipation of potential new case activity are good reasons to revisit this publication.  

The document does a fair job of compiling and organizing case law.  It helps seeing cases listed by federal district and state.  Relevant topics are also included.  Some search functions can be done, but a more interactive version would be more helpful.   

Being a DOJ publication, the focus is Federal SORNA.  This is best illustrated in the section on Ex Post Facto.   Starting on page 104, you can see this bias in the descriptions about the extra-constitutionality of Federal SORNA versus the bag of cats that are the 50 different state SORNAs.   There are very strong statements about court cases at the state and in Federal District courts not making a dent in the constitutional strength supporting Federal SORNA.  These statements are both tone deaf and overly simplistic.  

Of course, no-one directly registers with the US Government.  States register those with state level convictions and those with Federal convictions.  Not having any day to day interaction with Federal SORNA is great insulation from having to justify in court the validity of each item required for registration.  Federal SORNA is mostly enabling legislation which is an additional layer of insulation from direct harm.  This simplifies the truth a bit, but that is for shortness of explanation and not for misdirection like the DOJ publication.

The publication also has tremendous shortcomings in providing direct links by issue to the real vulnerabilities of SORNA at the state level which will have a direct impact on Federal SORNA.  Commonwealth v Torsilieri is cited in the index as a case addressing reputation, but text describing defamation and reputation on page 134 fail to cite this watershed Pennsylvania case.  That is just baffling.  

The 2024 publication will be an incredibly important tell.  The clarity of impact from cases in Tennessee, potential further direction on Clements and litigation in Florida and other states will be examined closely.   


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