Lindsey v. Swearingen, No. 21cv465 (N.D. Fla. 2022)
Nature of Case: Plaintiff was convicted of statutory rape and lewd molestation of a 15-year-old in Oklahoma in 1999. As required under Oklahoma law, Plaintiff registered as a “sex offender.” However, that registration requirement terminated in 2009 based on an individualized finding that Plaintiff posed a low risk of recidivism. Plaintiff then moved to Florida in 2011 where he did not register as a “sex offender.” In 2017, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement informed him that he was required to register, Plaintiff complied but two years later, in 2019, requested to be removed based on the 2009 Oklahoma state order. His request was denied.
In 2020 Plaintiff moved back to Oklahoma. He is no longer required to update his Florida registration but his prior registration information remains publicly available over the internet.
Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting the Florida registration requirement, as applied to him, violates the United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause and Equal Protection Clause.
Holding: The District Court rejects Plaintiff’s constitutional arguments concluding, first, that Florida may require a new resident to register as a “sex offender” based on a crime committed in a state where the individual lived previously, even though a court in that state terminated that state’s registration requirement and, second, that Florida is not required to purge or deny public access to prior registration records where an individual has left the state.