Alaska v. Wright (U.S. 2021)
Nature of Case: Appellant was convicted of a sex offense and required to register. He subsequently moved across state lines and did not register and was indicted for failing to register. Appellant pled guilty and subsequently filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his conviction for the underlying sex offense. The district court denied the petition on the grounds that Appellant was not “in custody” on his prior sex offense. Appellant sought review.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that where an individual is in custody on a failure to register offense, it is “positively and demonstrably related” to the predicate sex offense conviction and thus such individuals are in custody for habeas corpus purposes. The government petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari, which was granted.
Holding: In a Per Curiam opinion, the United States Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court reasoned that if an individual was serving a sentence for a federal failure to register offense, due to his state sex offense conviction, that did not render him “in custody” for the purposes of collaterally attacking the state conviction.
- United States Supreme Court Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- 9th Circuit Opinion | view via Google Scholar