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United States v. Nichols

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

November 10, 2013

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Lester Ray Nichols, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. THOMAS MARTEN, JUDGE

The defendant, Lester Ray Nichols, is charged with knowingly failing to register and update his registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). The matter is before the court on Nichols’s motion to dismiss the charge, arguing that SORNA does not apply to him under the circumstances of his case.

In 2003, Nichols was convicted of interstate travel to engage in sex with a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b). United States v. Nichols, No. 03-10127-MLB (D. Kan. Dec. 17, 2003). He was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment.

Nichols was released from prison and under federal supervision in the District of Kansas in 2012. Up until that time, he had complied with both Kansas and federal authorities in keeping his sex offender registry up to date every three months. He last registered in early October, 2012, and he was to renew his registration in early January, 2013.

However, in early November, 2012, Nichols boarded a plane from Kansas City International Airport to Manila, Philippines. On November 16, a warrant was issued to arrest Nichols for violation of his supervised release.

On December 26, 2012, law enforcement officers of the Manila Police and Philippine Bureau of Immigration arrested Nichols at a Manila hotel. After he was identified, Nichols met with an agent of the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Nichols was held in custody and deported by plane to Los Angeles, California, where he was taken into custody by the United States Marshal Service and transported to Kansas to face the present charge.

Nichols contends that SORNA did not require him to register as a sex offender while he was in the Philippines. 42 U.S.C. § 16913(a) requires:

A sex offender shall register, and keep the registration current, in each jurisdiction where the offender resides, where the offender is an employee, and where the offender is a student. For initial registration purposes only, a sex offender shall also register in the jurisdiction in which convicted if such jurisdiction is different from the jurisdiction of residence.

SORNA explicitly defines “jurisdiction” as:

(A) A State.
(B) The District of Columbia.
(C) The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(D) Guam.
(E) American ...

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