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Eye On Boise

New federal lawsuit says Idaho’s sex offender registry law is unconstitutional, applies retroactive punishment

Idaho’s sex offender registry laws are being challenged in a new federal lawsuit filed by 104 sex offenders, the Idaho Statesman reports. The lawsuit says the offenders were charged with offenses that at the time weren’t felonies, weren’t aggravated offenses or didn’t require registration, some of them in other states, and as much as two decades later the offenders are being required to register for life as sex offenders in Idaho.

That’s unconstitutional retroactive punishment, the lawsuit charges. The lawsuit charges that the Idaho law violates numerous provisions of both the U.S. and Idaho constitutions, including the ex post facto clause, the double jeopardy clause, and the offenders’ rights to due process, equal protection and more. You can read the full complaint here.

The lawsuit says the law “severely limits their ability to direct the upbringing of their children, find housing and employment, get an education, travel, engage in free speech activities (including use of the Internet), be free from harassment and stigma, and understand what is required of them under the statute.”

None of the offenders are named in the suit, reports Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell; instead, they’re identified as Does 1-104. The lawsuit, filed by Twin Falls attorney Greg Fuller, names more than 35 defendants including Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf, Idaho State Police Director Col. Ralph Powell, and the sheriffs of the 21 counties where the plaintiffs live. It doesn’t ask for monetary damages, instead seeking to declare those portions of the law unconstitutional and an injunction to block them from being enforced. Sewell’s full report is online here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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