State of Arkansas v. Scott, No. CR-21-347 (Ark. 2022)
Nature of Case: Defendant-Appellee was charged with one count of theft of property and two counts each of kidnapping and first-degree false imprisonment after he jumped into a running car in a hospital parking lot, which was occupied by two minors and drove the car to a nearby mall where he left the vehicle and the two minors unharmed. There were no allegations of sexual assault in the charges. In response to these charges, Defendant-Appellee was examined by a doctor who diagnosed him with several disorders including bipolar disorder. Ultimately the State and the Defense agreed that Defendant-Appellee should be acquitted due to a lack of criminal responsibility. The Court agreed and Defendant was acquitted of his charges. On appeal, the State’s sole argument is that the circuit court erred by failing to require Defendant-Appellee to register as a sex-offender in spite of his acquittal, pursuant to the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act of 1997 (SORA).
Holding: The Supreme Court of Arkansas reversed the decision of the lower court concluding that SORA’s plain language requires Defendant-Appellee to register in spite of his acquittal, because first-degree false imprisonment and kidnapping are defined as “sex offenses” under SORA, and SORA’s express language requires a person to register if he or she has been acquitted of a “sex offense” on the grounds of mental disease or defect.