People in Interest of C.M.D., 2018 COA 172

The Court of Appeals considers challenges to the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act (CSORA) as applied to C.M.D. While at a DYS facility, C.M.D. was charged with unlawful sexual contact and plead guilty to third degree assault with an underlying factual basis of unlawful sexual contact. This constituted C.M.D.’s second adjudication for a sexual offense, and the magistrate determined that he did not have discretion to decline to impose the sex offender registration requirement. C.M.D. appealed the district court’s decision affirming the magistrate’s imposition of the sex offender registration requirement.

The Court of Appeals affirms the district court’s decision, reasoning that Colorado Revised Statute 16-22 103(5)(a)’s discretionary exemption provisions do not apply to juveniles previously charged with unlawful sexual behavior. Additionally, section 16-22-113(1)’s registration discontinuation provisions do not apply to individuals with more than one conviction or adjudication for unlawful sexual behavior. Due to C.M.D.’s previous adjudication for an unlawful sexual offense, the court was statutorily required to order lifetime registration.

The Court of Appeals also rejects C.M.D.’s constitutional challenges to CSORA, reasoning that Colorado’s sex offender registration requirement is not punishment, but instead a collateral civil public safety measure. Recognizing that the United States District Court for the District of Colorado did conclude that the actual adverse consequences of CSORA amounted to punishment for the plaintiffs in that action, the Court of Appeals determines that C.M.D. did not present any evidence of actual adverse effects and that it would be premature for the Court to base a decision on speculative circumstances. The Court acknowledges that C.M.D. cited many persuasive studies in his brief regarding the debilitating effects of sex offender registration on juveniles but concludes that the legislature should consider such policy considerations. The Court similarly rejects C.M.D.’s due process arguments to the registration requirement.

December 13, 2018

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