Tuesday, June 19, 2012

U.S. v. Elkins, No. 11-30135 (6-14-12)(Callahan with Nelson and Tashima).
When one is a child, one acts as a child; and when one becomes an adult, well, if he committed a state juvenile sex offense, he has to register under SORNA. The defendant here, 18 years ago, when he was 14, committed a sex molestation. He served his sentence and was ordered to register. Many years later, after having registered, he moved to California. The warrant issued from Washington and he was charged under SORNA. The district court found SORNA punitive in this instance, and violative of the state juvenile protections, and so dismissed. The government appealed. The 9th reverses and remands. It held that under the Supreme Court's test in Smith v. Doe, 538 US 84 (2003), the requiring registration for backward looking offenses was not ex post facto, and the requirement was not punitive as it was regulatory. The 9th's precedent in Juvenile I and Juvenile II reasons that Congress, in requiring SORNA, could have trumped the juvenile protections. Here though it is not a federal juvenile matter but a state one, and under the state conviction, the juvenile had to register, have his photo submitted and posted an drive fingerprints. There is no conflict. Further, there is evidence sufficient to possibly sow that the juvenile knew of his SORNA obligations. The indictment's dismissal is reversed and remanded.

Briggs v. Grounds, No. 10-16683 (6-15-12)(Tallman with Graber; dissent by Berzon).
In this habeas under AEDPA, the 9th affirms the dismissal of the petition. The petition, serving 265 years for various sex offenses against two children, argued that the state committed a Batson violation by striking African American prospective jurors for pre-textual reasons. The 9th gives deterrence to the state courts in finding rational neutral reasons amidst a welter of questionable justifications. Berzon, dissenting, argues that the overwhelming sense is a deliberate effort to strike African American prospective jurors.


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