Roe v. Replogle, No. SC 92978.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtPATRICIA BRECKENRIDGE
Citation408 S.W.3d 759
PartiesJohn ROE I, Appellant, v. Colonel Ron REPLOGLE, et al., Respondents.
Decision Date01 October 2013
Docket NumberNo. SC 92978.

408 S.W.3d 759

John ROE I, Appellant,
v.
Colonel Ron REPLOGLE, et al., Respondents.

No. SC 92978.

Supreme Court of Missouri,
En Banc.

Oct. 1, 2013.


[408 S.W.3d 761]


Arthur A. Benson II, Jamie Kathryn Lansford, Arthur Benson & Associates, Kansas City, for Roe.

P. Benjamin Cox, Attorney General's Office, Abbe M. Feitelberg, Jackson County Counselor'S Office, Kansas City, for the State.


PATRICIA BRECKENRIDGE, Judge.

John Roe petitioned the Jackson County circuit court for declaratory and injunctive relief from a requirement that he register as a sex offender under the federal sex offender registration act (“SORNA”), 42 U.S.C. section 16901 to 16929. After discovery, the law enforcement officials against whom Mr. Roe filed suit moved for summary judgment. The circuit court granted the motion and entered judgment for the law enforcement officials. Mr. Roe appeals from the circuit court's entry of summary judgment, claiming the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment because (1) SORNA's delegation of authority to the federal Attorney General violates the nondelegation doctrine, (2) SORNA violates the prohibition against ex post facto laws, (3) SORNA does not require Missouri to register a sex offender who has completed his involvement in the criminal justice system, (4) SORNA contemplates yielding to state constitutional law, (5) there was no basis to prosecute

[408 S.W.3d 762]

him for failure to register as he had not traveled in interstate commerce, and (6) SORNA violates his substantive due process rights. Because several of Mr. Roe's claims challenge the validity of a statute of the United States, this Court has jurisdiction. Mo. Const. art. V, sec. 3.

This Court finds that SORNA does not violate the nondelegation clause, the prohibition against ex post facto laws, or Mr. Roe's substantive due process rights. It further finds that SORNA requires Mr. Roe to register, notwithstanding the fact that he completed his involvement in the criminal justice system before it was enacted, and that SORNA's registration requirement does not violate the Missouri Constitution's ban on retrospective laws. Finally, the Court holds that the issue of whether there is a basis for prosecuting Mr. Roe is irrelevant in an action for a declaratory judgment in which he is requesting a ruling that he is not required to register. Accordingly, this Court affirms the circuit court's judgment.

Factual and Procedural Background

In 1994, Mr. Roe was accused of inappropriately touching his stepdaughter, and he pleaded guilty to sodomy. He completed sexual abuse counseling and obeyed court orders regarding contact with his stepdaughter and supervised probation. After Missouri's Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”), section 589.400 et seq.,1 became effective on January 1, 1995, Mr. Roe registered as a sex offender. He ceased to register in 2006 after this Court held that offenders who were convicted prior to SORA's effective date need not register. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833, 852 (Mo. banc 2006). Congress passed SORNA later in 2006, and in 2009, this Court ruled that SORNA created an obligation to register independent of SORA's application. Doe v. Keathley, 290 S.W.3d 719, 720 (Mo. banc 2009).

Before Mr. Roe registered under SORNA, a Cole County circuit court held that SORNA's registration requirement was triggered only by a conviction. Doe v. Keathley, Judg. No. 06–AC–CC01088. Because Mr. Roe's guilty plea did not result in a judgment of conviction under Missouri law,2 he filed a petition in Jackson County circuit court against law enforcement officials for declaratory relief requesting that he not be required to register. See Swallow v. State, 398 S.W.3d 1, 5 n. 4 (Mo. banc 2013). However, while his petition was pending, the court of appeals reversed the Cole County circuit court and held that federal law, rather than state law, controls the question of whether a guilty plea constitutes a conviction under SORNA. Doe v. Keathley, 344 S.W.3d 759, 765 (Mo.App.2011). Because Mr. Roe's guilty plea is considered a conviction under federal law, see id. at 765–66, he again was required to register. Mr. Roe amended his petition to challenge SORNA's constitutional validity as applied to him. The law enforcement officials moved for summary judgment, and the circuit court granted the motion.

Mr. Roe appeals. He claims that the circuit court erred in entering summary judgment because (1) Congress impermissibly delegated its authority to the federal Attorney General to implement SORNA, (2) applying SORNA to Mr. Roe violates the federal constitution's prohibition against ex post facto criminal laws, (3)

[408 S.W.3d 763]

SORNA does not require states to register offenders who, like Mr. Roe, have completed their involvement with the criminal justice system, (4) SORNA contemplates yielding to state constitutions when it may violate a provision of a state constitution, (5) neither SORA nor SORNA provides a jurisdictional basis for prosecuting Mr. Roe for failing to register, and (6) registering would violate Mr. Roe's right to substantive due process.

Standard of Review

This Court reviews the constitutional validity of a statute de novo. Doe v. Toelke, 389 S.W.3d 165, 166 (Mo. banc 2012). A statute is presumed valid and will not be held unconstitutional unless it clearly contravenes a constitutional provision, and this Court resolves all doubt in favor of the statute's validity. Id.

Likewise, this Court reviews summary judgment de novo. Roberts v. BJC Health System, 391 S.W.3d 433, 437 (Mo. banc 2013). The record is viewed in the light most favorable to the party against whom summary judgment was entered. Id. Summary judgment is appropriate only when the moving party has demonstrated, on the basis of facts as to which there is no genuine dispute, a right to judgment as a matter of law. Id.

SORNA Does Not Violate Nondelegation Doctrine

Mr. Roe claims that SORNA unconstitutionally violates the separation of powers by impermissibly granting the federal Attorney General power to determine SORNA's retroactivity. The provision at issue provides:

The Attorney General shall have the authority to specify the applicability of the requirements of this subchapter to sex offenders convicted before the enactment of this chapter or its implementation in a particular jurisdiction, and to prescribe rules for the registration of any such sex offenders and for other categories of sex offenders who are unable to comply with subsection (b) of this section.

42 U.S.C. Section 16913(d).


The constitution grants Congress exclusive federal lawmaking authority. U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 8. “Congress manifestly is not permitted to abdicate or transfer to others the legislative functions with which it is vested.” Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388, 421, 55 S.Ct. 241, 79 L.Ed. 446 (1935). This “nondelegation doctrine” is “rooted in the principle of separation of powers that underlies our tripartite system of government.” Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 371, 109 S.Ct. 647, 102 L.Ed.2d 714 (1989). The doctrine has been recognized expressly as early as 1892, when the United States Supreme Court described the principle “[t]hat [C]ongress cannot delegate legislative power to the president” as “vital to the integrity and maintenance of the system of the government ordained by the constitution.” Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 692, 12 S.Ct. 495, 36 L.Ed. 294 (1892). The Supreme Court later clarified that, under the nondelegation doctrine, Congress may delegate legislative power so long as it provides an “intelligible principle to which the person or body authorized to [exercise that authority] is directed to conform.” J.W. Hampton, Jr., & Co. v. United States, 276 U.S. 394, 409, 48 S.Ct. 348, 72 L.Ed. 624 (1928).

In 1935, the United States Supreme Court used the nondelegation doctrine to invalidate statutes in two cases because the delegation lacked an intelligible principle. See

[408 S.W.3d 764]

Panama Refining Co., 293 U.S. 388, 55 S.Ct. 241, 79 L.Ed. 446 (1935), and A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 55 S.Ct. 837, 79 L.Ed. 1570 (1935). In one case, the Supreme Court found that Congress failed to provide any guidance for the exercise of discretion, while in the other it found that Congress granted authority to regulate an entire economy based on the vague standard of “fair competition.” See Panama Refining Co., 293 U.S. at 430, 55 S.Ct. 241 (“Congress has declared no policy, has established no standard, has laid down no rule.”); A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp., 295 U.S. at 541–42, 55 S.Ct. 837 (“In view of the scope of that broad declaration and of the nature of the few restrictions that are imposed, the discretion ... is virtually unfettered.”).

After those decisions, the Supreme Court expounded on the “intelligible principle” test. A delegation meets the “intelligible principle” test if it clearly delineates the general policy, the public agency that is to apply it, and the boundaries of the delegated authority. Am. Power & Light Co. v. Sec. & Exch. Comm'n, 329 U.S. 90, 105, 67 S.Ct. 133, 91 L.Ed. 103 (1946). Using this test, the Supreme Court consistently has held that broad declarations of policy are sufficient to avoid nondelegation issues, acknowledging that “Congress simply cannot do its job absent an ability to delegate power under broad general directives.” Mistretta, 488 U.S. at 371, 109 S.Ct. 647;see, e.g., Nat'l Broad. Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 190, 216, 63 S.Ct. 997, 87 L.Ed. 1344 (1943) (upholding a delegation to regulate radio communication for the “public interest, convenience, or necessity”); Lichter v. United States, 334 U.S. 742, 785–86, 68 S.Ct. 1294, 92 L.Ed. 1694 (1948) (upholding delegation of authority to determine excessive profits). Since handing down Panama Refining Co. and A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. in 1935, the Supreme Court has not struck down any other statute as violating the...

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16 practice notes
  • Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs. v. Hershberger, Misc. No. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 30, 2014
    ...words, in Missouri, the state registration requirement is based on an independent federal registration requirement. See Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 769 (Mo. 2013) (addressing 42 U.S.C. § 16925(b) and concluding that it "provides no relief to [the appellant in that case] because Missour......
  • Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs. v. Hershberger, Misc. Nos. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • June 30, 2014
    ...words, in Missouri, the state registration requirement is based on an independent federal registration requirement. See Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 769 (Mo.2013) (addressing 42 U.S.C. § 16925(b) and concluding that it “provides no relief to [the appellant in that case] because Missouri......
  • State v. Evans, No. 111,143.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • February 13, 2015
    ...not all collateral consequences from a guilty plea and SIS can be avoided under various circumstances. For example, in Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 766–67 (Mo.2013), the Missouri Supreme Court held that for purposes of the federal sex offender registration act, see 42 U.S.C. § 16901 (20......
  • State v. Evans, 111,143.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • February 13, 2015
    ...consequences from a guilty plea and SIS can be avoided under 51 Kan.App.2d 177various circumstances. For example, in Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 766–67 (Mo.2013), the Missouri Supreme Court held that for purposes of the federal sex offender registration act, see 42 U.S.C. § 16901 (2012......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs. v. Hershberger, Misc. No. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 30, 2014
    ...words, in Missouri, the state registration requirement is based on an independent federal registration requirement. See Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 769 (Mo. 2013) (addressing 42 U.S.C. § 16925(b) and concluding that it "provides no relief to [the appellant in that case] because Missour......
  • Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs. v. Hershberger, Misc. Nos. 1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • June 30, 2014
    ...words, in Missouri, the state registration requirement is based on an independent federal registration requirement. See Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 769 (Mo.2013) (addressing 42 U.S.C. § 16925(b) and concluding that it “provides no relief to [the appellant in that case] because Missouri......
  • State v. Evans, No. 111,143.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • February 13, 2015
    ...not all collateral consequences from a guilty plea and SIS can be avoided under various circumstances. For example, in Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 766–67 (Mo.2013), the Missouri Supreme Court held that for purposes of the federal sex offender registration act, see 42 U.S.C. § 16901 (20......
  • State v. Evans, 111,143.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • February 13, 2015
    ...consequences from a guilty plea and SIS can be avoided under 51 Kan.App.2d 177various circumstances. For example, in Roe v. Replogle, 408 S.W.3d 759, 766–67 (Mo.2013), the Missouri Supreme Court held that for purposes of the federal sex offender registration act, see 42 U.S.C. § 16901 (2012......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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