DANIEL L. DYSART, Judge.
Defendant Mark Molineux pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted failure to register as a sex offender pursuant to State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La.1976). He now appeals his conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm.
STATEMENT OF CASE:
On April 5, 2010, the defendant was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in violation of La. R.S. 15:542. The bill of information indicated that the defendant had previously been convicted in Florida for committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of sixteen. After a preliminary hearing, the trial court found probable cause. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to quash the bill of information, which the trial court denied on September 24, 2010. This Court upheld the trial court's ruling, and the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs.
The State amended the bill of information to charge the defendant with the attempted failure to register as a sex offender, and the defendant entered a guilty plea to the amended charge, reserving his rights under Alford
STATEMENT OF FACT:
Because the defendant pled guilty, there is no statement of facts. The only testimony received was at the preliminary hearing at which Detective Raymond Hughes testified how he came to learn that the defendant had previously been convicted of a sex crime in Florida and that the defendant had been in Louisiana and had not registered with the Sex Offender Registry.
A review of the record for patent errors reveals none.
In his sole assignment of error, the defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to quash the bill of information. The defendant makes several arguments in support of his motion to quash. The defendant contends that the statute is not applicable to him because his conviction occurred prior to the effective date of the statute. He also argues that if the statute is read to include him but not those convicted of in-state violations prior to 1992, then the application would violate his rights to equal protection and due process under both the Louisiana and United States Constitutions. The defendant further suggests that the statute has no mechanism to alert new residents with out of state convictions of their registration obligations, which said failure violates his rights under the Louisiana and United States Constitutions.
The defendant raised these same issues in his writ application filed with this Court, seeking review of the trial court's denial of the motion to quash. This Court denied the writ application, stating "We find no
The State contends that because this Court already considered these issues and found no error in the trial court's decision, the law of the case doctrine should apply to preclude any further consideration of the defendant's arguments.
Under the law of the case doctrine, appellate courts have held they have discretion to not reconsider a previously-decided issue unless they find the previous decision is based on palpable error or that manifest injustice would occur. Pitre v. Louisiana Tech University, 95-1466 (La.5/10/96), 673 So.2d 585, 589; Zatarain v. WDSU Television, 95-2600 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/24/96), 673 So.2d 1181.
The "law of the case" doctrine applies to all prior rulings or decisions of an appellate court or the Supreme Court in the same case, not merely those arising from the full appeal process. See Brumfield v. Dyson, 418 So.2d 21 (La.App. 1 Cir.1982). This policy applies to parties who were parties to the case when the former decision was rendered and who thus had their day in court. The reasons for the "law of the case" doctrine is to avoid relitigation of the same issue; to promote consistency of the result in the same litigation; and to promote efficiency and fairness to both parties by affording a single opportunity for the argument and decision of the matter at issue. Day v. Campbell-Grosjean Roofing and Sheet Metal Corp., 260 La. 325, 256 So.2d 105 (1971).
As noted in State v. Gillet, 99-2474, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/10/00), 763 So.2d 725, 728-29:
In his writ application the defendant raised the issues of whether Louisiana's Sex Offender Registration Act, La. R.S. 15:540, et seq., applied to persons who were neither convicted of a sex offense on or after June 18, 1992, nor were in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections on or after June 18, 1992, and if Louisiana's Sex Offender Registration Act is read to require persons with out-of-state convictions prior to 1992 to register but not to require persons with in-state convictions prior to 1992 to register, whether the statute violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the Louisiana and United States Constitutions.
Under the law of the case doctrine, the defendant would have to show that the writ decision was patently erroneous. As defendant's arguments are exactly the same on appellate review, he has not shown that the determination of these issues was patently erroneous and produced an unjust result. State v. Humphrey, 412 So.2d 507, 523 (La.1981)(on reh'g granted); State v. Scoggins, 2010-0869 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/17/11), 70 So.3d 145.
The only issue not raised in the writ application, but raised in the motion to quash, is the issue of whether the statute has no mechanism to alert new residents with out of state convictions of their registration obligations, which said alleged failure violates the defendant's due process rights under the Louisiana and United States Constitutions. Accordingly, this issue will be discussed.
The defendant argues that the statute violates his due process rights under both the United States and Louisiana Constitutions because he did not have knowledge that he had an obligation to register under the statute. The defendant relies upon the United States Supreme Court's decision in Lambert v. California, 355 U.S. 225, 78 S.Ct. 240, 2 L.Ed.2d 228 (1957), in support of his argument. In Lambert, the Court found that the registration provisions for a felon registration ordinance violated a person's due process rights when it was applied to a person who had no actual knowledge of the duty to register. Several state courts have relied upon Lambert in finding that before an offender may be held criminally liable for failing to register, the state must prove that he was aware of a registration requirement. See State v. Giorgetti, 868 So.2d 512 (Fla.2004).
In Giorgetti, the defendant had been convicted of indecent assault. After serving his two year sentence, the defendant was on probation for seven years. When his probation terminated, the defendant moved to a new address. Sometime after his probation had ended, he came into contact with a police officer who was looking for another person on an unrelated matter. The officer asked the defendant for identification and ran the defendant's
Similarly, in State v. Garcia, 156 Ariz. 381, 752 P.2d 34 (Ariz.App., 1987), the defendant argued that he had no actual knowledge that he was required to register as a sex offender. Relying upon Lambert, the court found that due process requires that a person have knowledge of the obligation to register as a sex offender before the person can be penalized for failing to register. The court found that there was nothing in the record to show that the defendant was aware of his statutory duty to register.
The State counters the defendant's arguments citing United States v. Whaley, 577 F.3d 254 (5th Cir.2009), which is more similar to the present case. In Whaley, the defendant contended that his conviction for failing to register as a sex offender violated the Due Process Clause because he never received notice that he was required to register under the federal sex offender registry law, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). The court noted that the defendant was notified of his obligation to register as a sex offender under state law but was not directly notified of the requirement to register under the federal statute because the defendant was released from prison before SORNA was enacted. The court concluded that despite the failure for direct notification to register under the federal statute, the notification that defendant was obligated to register under the state statute was sufficient to satisfy the Due Process Clause.
Whaley, 577 F.3d at 261-262.
Other federal courts have likewise limited the application of Lambert in cases dealing with violations of the federal sexual offender registration statute where the defendants had notice of the obligation to register under state law. In U.S. v. Gould, 568 F.3d 459(4th Cir.2009), cert. denied, Gould v. U.S., ___ U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 1686, 176 L.Ed.2d 186 (2010), the defendant argued that he could not have "knowingly" failed to register in accordance with SORNA because he was not specifically instructed of SORNA's requirements and that the prosecution without notification of his duty to register violated his rights under the Due Process Clause. The court in Gould found that the defendant's conviction did not violate his due process rights because he knew that he was required to register under state law.
Gould, 568 F.3d at 468-469.
Likewise, in U.S. v. Hinckley, 550 F.3d 926 (10th Cir.2008), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 2383, 173 L.Ed.2d 1301 (2009), the Court concluded that notice of a defendant's obligations under state law was sufficient to satisfy the Due Process Clause's requirements. In U.S. v. May, 535 F.3d 912 (8th Cir.2008), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 2431, 174 L.Ed.2d 229 (2009), the defendant argued that the application of SORNA violated his due process rights because he was not aware of the obligation to register under that statute. The appellate court found that the trial court had correctly distinguished Lambert from the defendant's case because the defendant admitted in a plea agreement that he knew, under state laws, that he had an obligation to register and keep his registration current when moving between jurisdictions. The court held that the defendant's due process rights were not violated.
In the present case, the defendant was previously convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of sixteen in the State of Florida in 1990. After serving his sentence, the defendant moved to New York in 1996. On October 24, 2008, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent defendant correspondence indicating that although the defendant was no longer required to register as a sex offender in Florida, the defendant may be required to register as a sexual offender if he establishes residency in another state or jurisdiction. In fact, the defendant registered as a sexual offender in New York in March 1996. The notice of registration filed in New York stated that the defendant was required to annually verify his address and notify the State of New York's Division of Criminal Justice Services in writing of any change of address. The defendant filed a change of address form in 1997. This form stated that "[i]f you move to another state, you may be required to register as a sex offender within 10 days of establishing residence. You must also register in any state in which you are employed or are a student." The defendant failed to file a yearly update for 2009.
Thus, the defendant had notice that he may have to register as a sexual offender when he moved to Louisiana in 2008. Similar to the defendants in Whaley, Gould, May, and Hinckley, who knew that they had to register under state law, the defendant in the present case knew about the possible requirements for registering under a state's sexual offender registry law. The defendant had registered in New York and was informed by the states of New York and Florida that if he moved, he may be required to register in the state in which he established residency. Accordingly, the defendant was sufficiently on notice of the need to register, and his due process rights have not been violated.
This assignment of error is without merit.
Accordingly, for the reasons assigned above, we affirm the defendant's conviction and sentence.