Appeals court: Sex offenders who emigrate must let state know
Sex offenders who leave the country must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in their home state, according to a ruling by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kevin Daniel Murphy, who was convicted of aggravated sexual assaultand aggravated sexual abuse of a child, was paroled from the prison to the Bonneville Community Correction Center in Salt Lake City in 2007. He stayed for a few months, but eventually fled to California and then into Mexico. He then went to Belize under the assumed name of Daniel Murray, according to the court ruling. Murphy chose Belize because he believed the country's government wouldn't extradite him back to the United States, the documents state. However, Belize authorities eventually deported him back to Utah for not having the proper immigration documents.
A district court judge sentenced Murphy to two years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for not updating the Utah sex offender registry, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling Thursday.
"For [sex offender registry] purposes, a sex offender continues to reside in a state after a change in residence or employment, both of which trigger reporting obligations, even if the offender eventually leaves the state," the ruling states. "Therefore, even if an offender abandons his current residence and job with the intention of moving out of the country, he must update his registration to reflect his new status."
Murphy argued that he was not required to update the Utah registry because he was no longer a resident of the state. The court agreed only in part.
"Although [the sex offender registry] does not require sex offenders living abroad to continually return to the United States to update their registrations, Murphy violated [the registry's law] by failing to notify Utah of a change of status specifically, his escape from Bonneville that occurred while he was still residing in that state."
Sex offenders must notify the agency in the jurisdiction where they are registered of any change of address, including permanently moving out of the state or country, the ruling states.