McGuire v. Marshall, No. 15-10958 (11th Cir. 2022)
Nature of Case: In 2011, individual required to register under Alabama law (ASORCNA) filed lawsuit challenging state registration scheme on several different theories of unconstitutionality, inter alia, that its provisions violated the Ex Post Facto Clause.
In February 2015, following bench trial, district court held that, for most of the challenged restrictions, Plaintiff failed to carry his burden of demonstrating that the restrictions were so punitive in purpose or effect that the legislature’s nonpunitive intent was overridden. There were, however, two exceptions. The district court concluded that provisions of Alabama law that required dual, weekly, in-person registration of homeless registrants, as well as dual application for travel permits were so punitive in effect as to overcome legislature’s stated non-punitive intent. Thus, application of the provisions violated federal constitutional guarantees against Ex Post Facto legislation.
In March of 2015, both Plaintiff and Defendant appealed parts of the district court’s judgment. While this appeal was pending, the Alabama legislature amended ASORCNA. Specifically, the legislature removed the travel permit requirement and modified the dual reporting requirements. Registrants who lived in cities no longer needed to report to both city and county law enforcement officers if they were homeless or planned to travel. In addition, the State changed how it implemented ASORCNA’s requirement that a registrant carry a driver’s license or state-issued identification card reflecting his status as a required registrant.
The case was heard by an Eleventh Circuit three-judge panel in February 2016. Even so, a decision was not issued by the Eleventh Circuit until October 2022, seven years after the appeal was filed. This significant and highly abnormal delay resulted in media coverage preceding the court’s decision.
Holding: After concluding that several of Mr. McGuire’s claims had been rendered moot by the Alabama legislature’s amendments to ASORCNA, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the District Court’s holding that the remaining ACSORNA provisions at issue did not amount to punishment, and thus did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. In so holding, the Eleventh Circuit stated that the fact that ASORCNA was codified in Alabama’s criminal procedure code and imposed criminal penalties did not render its provisions punitive. The Court further concluded that none of the challenged ASORCNA’s provisions violated the Ex Post Facto Clause, including residency and employment restrictions, homeless-reporting requirements, travel notification requirements, and direct community notification requirements. Thus, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s holding in part and vacated and remanded in part.
- Eleventh Circuit Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- Plaintiff-Appellant’s Principal Brief (11th Cir.)
- Appellee Cross-Appellant State Officials’ Principal Brief (11th Cir.)
- Appellee Cross-Appellant State Officials’ Reply Brief (11th Cir.)
- Plaintiff-Appellant’s Reply to Appellees Response to Supplemental Brief (11th Cir.)
- Plaintiff-Appellant’s Supplemental Materials (11th Cir.)
- District Court Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- Plaintiff-Appellant’s Brief (District Court)
- Appellee Cross-Appellant’s Brief (District Court)
- Appellant’s Reply Brief (District Court)
- Reply Brief of Appellee Cross-Appellant (District Court)