The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the state’s sex offender registry in a decision Monday saying a man who was convicted of rape in Washington state and later moved to Idaho still must register in Idaho’s system.
Richard T. Yeoman, who committed the rape in 1984 and moved to Idaho in 2007, pled guilty to failing to register in 2008, but argued that Idaho’s law was unconstitutional because it violated his right to travel between states.
The high court ruled against Yeoman’s appeal.
“Because he was required to register while residing in Washington, it is difficult to see how the requirement that he register in this State in any way infringed upon his right to travel,” Chief Justice Daniel Eismann said in the court’s decision.
According to Eismann, the constitutional right to travel prevents states from denying rights or benefits to visitors or new residents that are available to longer-term residents, such as receiving welfare benefits or being able to vote in elections. This right stems from the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Idaho has had a sex offender registry since 1998. The original law said it applies only to those convicted of a sexual offense such as rape prior to 1993. Yeoman argued that the law shouldn’t apply to him, since he was convicted of a crime in the 1980s. The court ruled that, given the way the law was written, Yeoman still had to register.
“The date a person was convicted of a crime does not become part of the definition of the offense for which he or she was convicted,” Eismann said in the decision.
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