Thomas v. Blocker (CA3 & M.D. Pa.)
Nature of Case: Appellant was convicted of sex offenses in Pennsylvania in 1991 and received a custodial sentence. When he was released in 2018, Pennsylvania authorities told him that he would be required to register as a sex offender. Appellant objected to this and ultimately brought a lawsuit challenging this requirement, as his offenses predated Pennsylvania’s sex offense registry acts and state law held that retroactive application was unconstitutional. Appellant sought a preliminary injunction in the suit, which was denied. Appellant then sought review of that denial.
3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the request for a preliminary injunction. The Court held that because federal law imposed an independent duty to register on him, the fact that he had not engaged in interstate travel and had committed a state offense notwithstanding. This federal duty mandated that he register in Pennsylvania, even if he would not have been required to do so under state law, and thus would not be entitled to the requested preliminary injunction. State defendants thereafter filed for a motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Holding: The district court granted the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the plaintiff was required to register under federal law, that his registration did not infringe on his Due Process rights or rights to be free from Ex Post Facto punishments. The court further granted judgment for the defendants on plaintiff’s claims of retaliation and defamation.
- District Court Memorandum Opinion (2021) | view via Google Scholar
- 3rd Circuit Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- District Court R&R (2018)