Doe v. State, 189 P.3d 999 (Alaska 2008)
Nature of Case: Plaintiff, who was party to the United States Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Doe, brought suit in Alaska state court alleging that Alaska’s sex offense registry was punishment and violated the Alaska state constitution. The trial court denied a request for a preliminary injunction, and Plaintiff appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
Holding: Alaska Supreme Court held that the state’s sex offense registration scheme was so punitive in effect as to constitute punishment, and therefore could not be applied retroactively in accordance with state constitutional principles. The Court found that the registration scheme treated people, like Plaintiff, who had served their criminal sentences similarly to probationers and parolees, exposes individuals like Plaintiff to widespread humiliation due to the disclosure provisions, that it overwhelmingly applies to offenses that require scienter, that the registration scheme was not incidentally geared towards retribution and deterrence. Trial court judgment reversed.