Doe v. Frisz, No. 99310 (Mo. 2022)
Nature of Case: In December 2019, Petitioner John Doe pleaded guilty to four counts of endangering the welfare of a child for striking his daughters and exposing one daughter to the cold. Several months after pleading guilty, Doe’s probation officer notified him that he needed to register as a “sex offender” based on allegations in charges the state abandoned. Doe petitioned for a writ of prohibition challenging the sheriff’s determination that Doe was required to register under federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), and thus also under state Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), based on allegations in the abandoned charges to which probationer did not plead guilty. The lower court issued a preliminary writ but ultimately denied a permanent writ. Doe appealed.
Holding: On transfer from the Court of Appeals the Missouri Supreme Court sitting en banc held that allegations in abandoned charges could not be considered in determining sex offense registration status and that the sheriff lacked authority to determine whether Appellant was required to register. Even so, the court affirmed the lower court’s denial of a permanent writ concluding a writ of prohibition was not appropriate to control the sheriff because his determination was not a judicial or quasi-judicial act.