Hixson v. Mo. State Highway Patrol, No. ED 108289

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtSHERRI B. SULLIVAN, J.
Citation611 S.W.3d 923
Parties James HIXSON, Petitioner/Appellant, v. MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL and St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon M. Belmar, Respondents/Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. ED 108289
Decision Date10 November 2020

611 S.W.3d 923

James HIXSON, Petitioner/Appellant,
v.
MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL and St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon M. Belmar, Respondents/Respondents.

No. ED 108289

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, DIVISION TWO.

Filed: November 10, 2020


SHERRI B. SULLIVAN, J.

Introduction

James Hixson (Appellant) appeals from the judgment dismissing his petition for removal from Missouri's sex offender registry under the Missouri Sex Offender Registration Act, Section 589.401 (SORA). We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

In 1999, Appellant, then 41 years old, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Pursuant to Illinois law, Appellant was required to register with Illinois's sexual offender registry for a period of 10 years.

After his conviction, Appellant moved to St. Louis County, Missouri. Appellant timely registered as a sex offender under SORA. At that time, SORA required that he, like all sex offenders regardless of offense, remain on Missouri's registry for his lifetime. In 2009, Appellant received a letter from the Illinois State Police Sex Offender Registration Unit notifying him that he was no longer required to register in Illinois and that all records pertaining to his registration were removed from their public website and related databases.

In 2018, Missouri amended SORA. The amendments divided sex offenders into tiers based on the severity of their offenses. The amendments required only

611 S.W.3d 925

those in tier III, the most severe offenders, to register for their lifetimes (unless the tier III offense was adjudicated delinquent because the offender was a juvenile), and imposed lesser registration periods on tiers I and II offenders. See Sections 589.400, et seq. The amendments also provided a mechanism for tiers I and II offenders to be removed from the registry. See Sections 589.400.10 and 589.401.

Appellant filed a petition for removal from Missouri's registry on the ground that his offense was adjudicated in Illinois and he had already been removed from Illinois's registry. St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar (Respondent) sought to dismiss the petition on the ground that Appellant was a tier III offender under SORA and was therefore not eligible for removal but required to remain on Missouri's registry for his lifetime. The trial court granted Respondent's motion to dismiss. This appeal follows.

Discussion

The question on appeal is whether an adult tier III offender, whose offense was adjudicated in another state and who has been removed from that state's registry, may petition under SORA for removal from Missouri's registry. This is a question of statutory interpretation that we review de novo. Dixon v. Mo. State Highway Patrol, 583 S.W.3d 521, 523 (Mo. App. W.D. 2019) (citation omitted).

SORA went into effect on January 1, 1995. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833, 839 (Mo. banc 2006). SORA was created to protect children from "violence at the hands of sex offenders" and "to respond to the known danger of recidivism among sex offenders." Id. To achieve its goals, SORA subjected individuals convicted of committing specified sexual offenses to registration and notification requirements. Id. As noted above, until recently, "SORA treated all sexual offenses the same and imposed on all offenders a lifetime registration requirement, with limited exceptions." Bacon v. Mo. State Highway Patrol, 602 S.W.3d 245, 247 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020).

On August 28, 2018, the Missouri General Assembly amended SORA to distinguish between offenses based on their severity. The 2018 amendments divide sexual offenders into three tiers based upon the severity of their offenses. Id. Tier I contains the 15 least serious offenses, requires annual check-ins to law enforcement, and allows offenders to petition for removal from the registry after 10 years. Id. See also Sections 589.401.4(1) and 589.414.5. Tier II covers 13 offenses and certain repeat offenders, requires semiannual check-ins, and allows offenders to petition for removal from the registry after 25 years. Bacon, 602 S.W.3d at 247. See also Sections 589.401.4(2) and 589.414.6. Finally, tier III covers the 36 most serious offenses, requires check-ins every 90 days, and requires lifetime registration (unless the offender committed the offense as a juvenile). Bacon, 602 S.W.3d at 247. See also Sections 589.401.4(3) and 589.414.7.

The amendments align SORA more closely with the federal Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (SORNA).1 As noted above, to account for the fact that

611 S.W.3d 926

newly classified tiers I and II offenders no longer are required to remain on the registry for their lifetimes, SORA allows those offenders to seek removal under Section 589.400.10:

Any person currently on the sexual offender registry for having been adjudicated for a tier I or II offense or adjudicated delinquent for a tier III offense or other comparable offenses listed under section 589.414 may file a petition under section 589.401.

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4 practice notes
  • Smith v. St. Louis Cnty. Police, ED109734
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 7 d2 Junho d2 2022
    ...Wilkerson v. State, 533 S.W.3d 755, 758 (Mo. App. W.D. 2017), 3 Selig, 604 S.W.3d at 824-25, and Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol, 611 S.W.3d 923 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020), in support. This appeal follows. III. STANDARD OF REVIEW As in any court-tried case, "[t]he judgment of the trial co......
  • Barnett v. Columbia Maint. Co., ED 109008
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 29 d2 Junho d2 2021
    ...of the legislature from the language used, and to give effect to that intent if possible. Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol , 611 S.W.3d 923, 926 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020). We do so by considering the words used in their plain and ordinary meaning. Id. We examine the language used by the l......
  • Planned Parenthood Region v. Mo. Dep't of Soc. Servs., ED 109654
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 14 d2 Dezembro d2 2021
    ...that intent if possible. Kehlenbrink v. Dir. of Revenue , 577 S.W.3d 798, 800 (Mo. banc 2019) ; Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol , 611 S.W.3d 923, 926 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020). We do so by considering the words used in their plain and ordinary meaning. Hixson , 611 S.W.3d at 926. We inte......
  • Ford v. Belmar, ED109958
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 7 d2 Junho d2 2022
    ...for their lifetimes, [MO-]SORA allows those offenders to seek removal under [§] 589.400.10." Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol, 611 S.W.3d 923, 925-26 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020) (affirming dismissal of adult tier III offender's petition for removal because those offenders are still required......
4 cases
  • Smith v. St. Louis Cnty. Police, ED109734
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 7 d2 Junho d2 2022
    ...Wilkerson v. State, 533 S.W.3d 755, 758 (Mo. App. W.D. 2017), 3 Selig, 604 S.W.3d at 824-25, and Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol, 611 S.W.3d 923 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020), in support. This appeal follows. III. STANDARD OF REVIEW As in any court-tried case, "[t]he judgment of the trial co......
  • Barnett v. Columbia Maint. Co., ED 109008
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 29 d2 Junho d2 2021
    ...of the legislature from the language used, and to give effect to that intent if possible. Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol , 611 S.W.3d 923, 926 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020). We do so by considering the words used in their plain and ordinary meaning. Id. We examine the language used by the l......
  • Planned Parenthood Region v. Mo. Dep't of Soc. Servs., ED 109654
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 14 d2 Dezembro d2 2021
    ...that intent if possible. Kehlenbrink v. Dir. of Revenue , 577 S.W.3d 798, 800 (Mo. banc 2019) ; Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol , 611 S.W.3d 923, 926 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020). We do so by considering the words used in their plain and ordinary meaning. Hixson , 611 S.W.3d at 926. We inte......
  • Ford v. Belmar, ED109958
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 7 d2 Junho d2 2022
    ...for their lifetimes, [MO-]SORA allows those offenders to seek removal under [§] 589.400.10." Hixson v. Missouri State Highway Patrol, 611 S.W.3d 923, 925-26 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020) (affirming dismissal of adult tier III offender's petition for removal because those offenders are still required......

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