CRIMINAL LAW – Sexual offender registration, address change: Terry Tobar v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (SC 5/21/2009)

Terry Tobar v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
2007-SC-000842-DG May 21, 2009
Opinion by Justice Venters. Justice Noble not sitting.

Tobar entered a conditional guilty plea to failure to comply with the sexual offender registration requirement of KRS 17.510(10)(a). Tobar did not notify authorities after he was made to leave the homeless shelter where he lived. Tobar argued that the statute, as it existed in 2005, was unconstitutionally vague because he was homeless and had no new address to report. Tobar further argued that it was impossible for a homeless person to comply with the statute. The Court held that KRS 17.510(10)(a) was not unconstitutionally vague since it was sufficiently definite such that an ordinary person could understand what conduct was prohibited and that the statute as written did not cause arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement. The Court noted that the focus of the statute was not that the registrant has an address, but that any change in the address must be reported to proper authorities. Justice Schroder (joined by Justice Scott) dissented contending that the protracted struggle over the question of whether homeless persons were required to register a change of residence indicated that the language of the statute was not definite enough for an ordinary person to understand.

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