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U.S. Supreme Court Asks Montana Supreme Court to Address Whether FJDA Conviction Requires Registration Under Montana Law

On June 7, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court certified a question to the Montana Supreme Court in order to decide whether a petition for writ of certiorari currently pending before the Court was moot.

In United States v. Juvenile Male, 590 F.3d 924 (9th Cir. 2010), the Ninth Circuit held that the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) cannot be retroactively applied to juvenile offenders who were adjudicated delinquent under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (FJDA) before SORNA’s effective date. According to the Ninth Circuit, retroactive application of SORNA to such offenders would run afoul of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Following the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the government petitioned for certiorari. Rather than accept the government’s petition outright, though, the Supreme Court said it had to first determine whether the case was moot. The unnamed plaintiff, identified only as “Juvenile Male,” was no longer subject to any federal registration requirements since his federal supervision had ended. Thus, the only way Juvenile Male’s case remained a live case or controversy, the Court explained, was if registration under Montana law was precluded as a collateral consequence of the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

To decide that question, the Supreme Court certified a question to the Montana Supreme Court regarding whether Juvenile Male was required to register as a sex offender under Montana state law as a result of the now-invalidated, expired conditions of his FJDA conviction. The Montana Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issue. See: United States v. Juvenile Male, 130 S.Ct. 2518 (2010).

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Related legal cases

United States v. Juvenile Male

United States v. Juvenile Male