Smith v. Commonwealth, 743 S.E.2d 146 (Va. 2013)
Nature of Case: Plaintiff was convicted pursuant to a plea agreement in 1999 of a sex offense, for which registration was required. At the time of the plea, state law would have allowed for Plaintiff to petition for removal after 10 years. Subsequent changes in state law negated this potential, and reclassified Plaintiff’s offense as “sexually violent.”
Plaintiff filed suit in state court, alleging that the subsequent change in state law alleging that the reclassification violated his contractual and constitutional rights. Specifically, he alleged that the reclassification constituted breach of contract, an unconstitutional taking, and violated his Procedural Due Process rights. Trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the state, and Plaintiff appealed.
Holding: Virginia Supreme Court affirmed. The reclassification and change in state law was not a breach of contract as the agreement did not specify that Plaintiff was only to be subject to the law at the time of the agreement. The agreement also contained an implied provision that Plaintiff would continue to be subject to the state’s police power. Because Plaintiff’s contractual rights were not vested, Plaintiff’s constitutional claims failed as well. There was no unconstitutional taking, nor were his Procedural Due Process rights violated.