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Tuesday, March 2, 2004.

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Statement of the Attorney General's Office

State Files Appeal in Sex Offender Residency Case

Statement of the Attorney General's Office:

Attorney General Tom Miller today appealed the decision of the federal district court that found unconstitutional the residency restrictions imposed on Iowa sex offenders. The notice of appeal was filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The residency restriction was imposed by the Iowa Legislature in 2002. Convicted criminals who are on the Sex Offender Registry, and whose victims were children, were prohibited from living within 2000 feet of a school or day care facility.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt on February 9 issued the opinion and order imposing a permanent injunction against enforcement of the residency restrictions. The law suit was brought as a class action by "John Doe" sex offenders against Attorney General Miller and all 99 Iowa county attorneys.

The opinion by Judge Pratt found that the residency restrictions violate several provisions of the U.S. Constitution: the Ex Post Facto clause, the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, and 14th Amendment substantive and procedural due process.

County attorneys have decided not to appeal. That decision was made by the county attorney class representative named in the law suit, Johnson County Attorney J. Patrick White, after he consulted with the other members of the class. County attorneys were necessarily included in the law suit at the district court level because the statute could not be enjoined unless they were parties.


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