Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Juneal C. Kerrick, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Jones, Justice.
The decision of the district court is vacated.
Daniel Johnson petitioned the district court for an exemption from sex offender registration requirements. The district court determined that the 2009 amendments to the Idaho Sexual Offender Registration Notification and Community Right-to-Know Act (SORA) precluded such exemption and therefore denied his petition. On appeal, Johnson argues that the district court's application of SORA was unconstitutional. Because Johnson filed his petition in his alreadydismissed criminal case, however, the district court lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter. We therefore vacate the district court's decision.
In 1998, Johnson pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child under the age of sixteen years, a violation of I.C. § 18-1506. The State had charged Johnson with having "sexual contact with R.M., a child under the age of sixteen, to wit: eleven (11) years old." Johnson entered his plea pursuant to an agreement made in accordance with Idaho Criminal Rule 11. Johnson's Rule 11 agreement provided: "The Defendant must comply with any legal requirements concerning registration as a sex offender under the laws of the [S]tate of Idaho or any other state where the Defendant resides."
After Johnson's plea, the district court withheld judgment and put Johnson on supervised probation. The court discharged Johnson from supervised probation in April 2001. In November 2002, the court set aside Johnson's plea, dismissed his case, and discharged his remaining term of probation.
In August 2009, Johnson filed a petition with the district court, seeking an exemption from his duty to register as a sex offender under SORA. Johnson filed his petition in his previously dismissed criminal case. The State opposed Johnson's petition, arguing that Johnson was convicted of an aggravated offense and was therefore precluded from petitioning for an exemption. After conducting a hearing and considering the parties' briefing on the matter, the district court determined that SORA, as amended in 2009, precluded an exemption. Johnson now appeals and raises four issues: (1) whether the 2009 SORA amendments run afoul of the U.S. Constitution's prohibition of ex post facto laws; (2) whether the 2009 SORA amendments, as applied to Johnson, constitute an unlawful impairment of his contract rights; (3) whether the 2009 SORA amendments violate Johnson's constitutional right to due process; and (4) whether the 2009 SORA amendments violate Johnson's rights under the Idaho Constitution.
A. SORA and the U.S. Constitution.
Constitutional issues are questions of law over which this Court exercises free review. Allied Bail Bonds, Inc. v. County of Kootenai, 151 Idaho 405, __ , 258 P.3d 340, __ (2011). SORA requires anyone convicted of sexual abuse of a child under sixteen years old, a violation of I.C. § 18-1506, to have their name, address, physical description, and other personal information recorded in an electronic database. I.C. §§ 18-8304(1), -8305(1). For SORA's purposes, "[a] conviction . . . means that the person has pled guilty or has been found guilty, notwithstanding the form of the judgment or withheld judgment." I.C. § 18-8304(3). SORA registrants must update their registry information any time there is a change of documented information. I.C. § 18-8309. SORA registration is for life; however, any offender, other than a recidivist, an offender who has been convicted of an aggravated offense, or an offender designated as a violent sexual predator, may, after a period of ten (10) years from the date the ...