Attorney General Schneider Issues Statement On Superior Court Ruling Upholding Maine?s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

August 19, 2011

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General William J. Schneider announced today that the Superior Court in Kennebec County upheld Maine?s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) in the face of constitutional challenges.

In a 70-page decision, the Superior Court rejected claims that SORNA is an unconstitutional ex post facto law; is void for vagueness; violates procedural and substantive due process; or is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. The court went on to reject Plaintiffs? argument that SORNA violated the Declaration of Rights in Maine?s Constitution.

The decision came about as a result of motions filed by over 15 sex offenders represented by three law firms.

Justice Michaela Murphy specifically noted that: ?The history of SORNA in Maine is one in which all branches of the government have acted in an attempt to find constitutional ways to protect the public, especially children, from sex offenders. Clearly, the State of Maine has significant and legitimate reasons in monitoring the whereabouts and activities of sex offenders who reside throughout Maine.?

Additionally, the Superior Court rejected Plaintiffs? request for over $600,000 in attorney?s fees. The court correctly reasoned that the Plaintiffs had not prevailed and therefore were not entitled to an award of these fees.

?This important decision upholds the Legislature?s efforts to reduce incidents of sexual exploitation, violence and abuse in Maine. The sex offender registration and notification provisions of SORNA are a necessary mechanism to inform and protect the public,? said Attorney General Schneider.

CONTACT: Brenda Kielty 626-8577