United States v. Juvenile Male

Opinion Summary:

In 2005, respondent was charged with delinquency under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. 5031 et seq., for sexually abusing a boy for approximately two years until respondent was 15 years old and his victim was 12 years old. Respondent was sentenced to two years of juvenile detention followed by juvenile supervision until his 21st birthday. In 2006, while respondent remained in juvenile detention, Congress enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. 16902 et seq. In July 2007, the District Court determined that respondent had failed to comply with the requirements of his prerelease program. On appeal, respondent challenged his "special conditio[n]" of supervision and requested that the Court of Appeals "reverse th[e] portion of his sentence requiring Sex Offender Registration and remand with instructions that the district court ... strik[e] Sex Offender Registration as a condition of juvenile supervision." Over a year after respondent's 21st birthday, the Court of Appeals handed down its decision and held that the SORNA requirements violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution, Art. I, section 9, cl. 3, when applied to juveniles adjudicated as delinquent before SORNA's enactment. The Court held that the Court of Appeals had no authority to enter that judgment because it had no live controversy before it where respondent had turned 21 and where the capable-of-repetition exception to mootness did not apply in this case. Accordingly, the judgment of the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal.

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