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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Retroactive Sex-Offender Law Tossed

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A law prohibiting certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or child-care facility is unconstitutional, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously. The 2006 law included all past and future sex offenders, so that sex offenders who lived within the 1,000-foot boundary before the law took effect had to move or face felony charges.

R.L., a convicted sex offender, challenged the law, stating he had lived in his residence since 1997 and a school was built within 1,000 feet of it in 1998.

The state supreme court ruled that the law violated the state's constitutional ban on retrospective laws.

Judge Richard Teitelman wrote: "The residency restrictions at issue in this case impose a new obligation upon R.L. and those similarly situated by requiring them to change their place of residence based solely upon offenses committed prior to enactment of the statute. Attaching new obligations to past conduct in this manner violates the bar on retrospective laws."

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