MacColl v. Mo. State Highway Patrol & Boone Cnty., WD84739

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtKaren King Mitchell, Presiding Judge.
PartiesLIANA MacCOLL (formerly known as LIANA M. BRADFORD), Appellant, v. MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL and BOONE COUNTY, MISSOURI, SHERIFF, Respondents.
Decision Date03 May 2022
Docket NumberWD84739

LIANA MacCOLL (formerly known as LIANA M. BRADFORD), Appellant,
v.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL and BOONE COUNTY, MISSOURI, SHERIFF, Respondents.

No. WD84739

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

May 3, 2022


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri The Honorable Jeff Harris, Judge

Before Karen King Mitchell, Presiding Judge, and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., and Thomas N. Chapman, Judges

Karen King Mitchell, Presiding Judge.

Liana MacColl appeals from the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Boone County, Missouri, Sheriff (collectively, the State) in MacColl's action seeking a declaration that she is not required to register as a sex offender in Missouri. MacColl raises four points on appeal. She argues that the motion court erred in granting summary judgment to the State and denying her opposing motion for summary judgment because the court erroneously concluded that she was required to register under (1) the federal Jacob Wetterling

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Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 14071[1](Point I); (2) the Missouri Sex Offender Registration Act, § 589.400 et seq. RSMo (MO-SORA), beginning with the 2000 amendments to MO-SORA (Point II); and (3) MO-SORA's catch-all provision for individuals required to register under federal law because MacColl was subject to the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 34 U.S.C. § 20901[2] et seq. (SORNA) (Point III). In her final point, MacColl claims the motion court erroneously concluded that she cannot apply for a retroactive reduction in the applicable registration period under SORNA. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the motion court's judgment.

Background[3]

By Information dated August 21, 1995, MacColl was charged with having "deviate sexual intercourse with an unnamed juvenile female, to whom MacColl was not married and who then was under the age of seventeen years." That same day, MacColl pled guilty to one count of the class A misdemeanor of sexual misconduct in the first degree under § 566.090 RSMo (1994). MacColl was sentenced to one year in the Boone County Jail with execution of sentence suspended, and she was placed on two years' supervised probation. As a condition of her probation, MacColl was required to complete a sex offender program and obtain counseling as directed by her probation officer. MacColl was discharged from probation on August 21, 1997.

Sometime during the summer of 2000, MacColl learned of changes to Missouri's sex offender registration requirements and contacted the Boone County Sheriff's Office to ask whether she was required to register. MacColl was advised to register, which she did for the first time on

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August 24, 2000. She has continued to register and, before this proceeding, she had not requested or received a reduction in her registration period.

On October 7, 2020, MacColl filed a two-count petition for declaratory judgment; she filed an amended petition on December 21, 2020. In her first count, MacColl sought a declaration that her offense be classified as a Tier I offense under § 589.414.5, that she does not have an independent obligation to register under SORNA, and that she is eligible for removal from Missouri's registry under § 589.401. For her second count, MacColl seeks relief under § 589.401, including a judgment directing that she be removed from Missouri's registry and that she no longer be required to register.

The parties filed opposing motions for summary judgment. On July 23, 2021, the motion court issued its judgment granting the State's motion and denying MacColl's motion. The court concluded that (1) MacColl was required to register under the Jacob Wetterling Act at the time of her guilty plea in 1995 because the offense to which she pled guilty was a sex offense against a minor; (2) MacColl was required to register under MO-SORA beginning with the 2000 amendments, which required registration of misdemeanor offenses and of any person who has been or is required to register under federal law; (3) MacColl's obligation to register under federal law continued under SORNA until her 15-year registration obligation expired in 2010; and (4) MacColl is not entitled to retroactively request a reduction of the 15-year registration period. Thus, the court concluded that, as a matter of law, MacColl was required to register under MO-SORA because she has been required to register under federal law and is not entitled to removal from Missouri's registry. MacColl appeals.[4]

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Standard of Review

"A circuit court's grant of summary judgment is subject to de novo review on appeal." Holmes v. Steelman, 624 S.W.3d 144, 148 (Mo. banc 2021). "Summary judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates there is no genuine dispute about material facts and, under the undisputed facts, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Connor v. Ogletree, 542 S.W.3d 315, 319 (Mo. banc 2018) (quoting Parr v. Breeden, 489 S.W.3d 774, 778 (Mo. banc 2016)). "We will affirm the trial court's summary judgment on any ground supported by the record, whether relied upon by the trial court or not." Payne v. City of St. Joseph, 58 S.W.3d 84, 86 (Mo. App. W.D. 2001).

Analysis

MacColl raises four points on appeal. She argues that the motion court erred in granting the State's motion for summary judgment and denying her summary judgment motion because the court erroneously concluded that she was required to register under (1) the Jacob Wetterling Act (Point I); (2) MO-SORA beginning in 2000 (Point II); and (3) MO-SORA because she "has been or is required to register under . . . federal . . . law" (Point III). For Point IV, MacColl claims the motion court erroneously concluded that she cannot apply for a retroactive reduction under SORNA.[5] For ease of discussion, we consider MacColl's first three points together.

The motion court concluded that MacColl was required to register as a sex offender on three grounds-the Jacob Wetterling Act, the 2000 amendments to MO-SORA, and MO-SORA's

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"catch-all" provision requiring registration by any person "who is a resident of this state and . . . has been or is required to register under . . . federal . . . law." [6] § 589.400.1(7). We find the third ground dispositive.

Since 1994, Congress has required each state to maintain a federally compliant sex offender registration program in order to receive certain federal funding. In an effort to make the various state programs more comprehensive, effective, and uniform, Congress enacted SORNA in 2006. In relevant part, SORNA provides, "[a] sex offender shall register, and keep the registration current, in each jurisdiction where the offender resides[.]" 34 U.S.C. § 20913(a). A "sex offender" is "an individual who was convicted of a sex offense."[7] Id. § 20911(1). A "sex offense" includes, among other things, "a criminal offense that has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another" and "a criminal offense that is a specified offense against a minor." Id. § 20911(5)(A)(i), (ii). A "specified offense against a minor" includes, among other things, "[c]riminal sexual conduct involving a minor" and "[a]ny conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor." Id. § 20911(7)(H), (I). "SORNA's definition of a 'specified offense against a minor' [i]s intended to be broad." Wilkerson v. State, 533 S.W.3d 755, 759 (Mo. App. W.D. 2017). "Congress cast a wide net to ensnare as many offenses against children as possible." Id. (quoting United States v. Dodge, 597 F.3d 1347, 1355 (11th Cir. 2010) (en banc).

In 2008, SORNA was applied to all sex offenders, even those who were convicted before 2006, by means of interim and final U.S. Department of Justice rules.

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Peters v. Jackson Cnty. Sheriff, 543 S.W.3d 85, 88 (Mo. App. W.D. 2018) (citing 72 Fed.Reg. 8894 (Feb. 28, 2007) and 73 Fed.Reg. 38, 030 (July 2, 2008)); see also Horton v. State, 462 S.W.3d 770, 773 (Mo. App. S.D. 2015) ("SORNA has applied to persons who pled guilty before its enactment since at least August 1, 2008, following the United States Attorney General's issuance of final guidelines.").[8]

MacColl meets the definition of a sex offender under SORNA because she was convicted of a sex offense. 34 U.S.C. § 20911(1). MacColl was charged with having "deviate sexual intercourse with an unnamed juvenile female, to whom MacColl was not married and who then was under the age of seventeen years." MacColl pled guilty to one count of the class A misdemeanor of sexual misconduct in the first degree under § 566.090 RSMo (1994). At the relevant time, that section stated:

1. A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct in the first degree if [s]he has deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex or [s]he purposely subjects another person to sexual contact or engages in conduct which would constitute sexual contact except that the touching occurs through the clothing without that person's consent.
2. Sexual misconduct in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor unless the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this chapter or unless in the course thereof the actor displays a deadly weapon in a threatening manner or the offense is committed as a part of a ritual or ceremony, in which case it is a class D felony.[9]
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Here, MacColl does not dispute that the offense to which she pled guilty constitutes criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, which is a specified offense against a minor under SORNA.[1...

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