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United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America Plaintiff - Appellee v. Ricky Lynn THOMAS Defendant - Appellant

No. 18-3275

Decided: October 31, 2019

Before SMITH, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and BEAM, Circuit Judges. Anthony R. Morfitt, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Plaintiff-Appellee Heather Quick, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Defendant-Appellant Ricky Lynn Thomas, Pro Se


After moving to Iowa in March 2017, Ricky Thomas failed to register with the sex offender registry as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 34 U.S.C. § 20913 (SORNA), based upon his 1993 Minnesota conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Thus, in February 2018, Thomas was indicted with one count of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). SORNA was not enacted until 2006, but in 2007, the Attorney General declared that the Act would be applied retroactively to individuals like Thomas who were convicted of offenses that require registration under SORNA but were committed prior to its enaction. Thomas moved to dismiss the federal indictment, arguing that retroactive application of § 20913(d) unconstitutionally violated the nondelegation doctrine of Article I, § 1 of the United States Constitution. The district court 1 denied the motion to dismiss, citing Eighth Circuit precedent contrary to the argument advanced. See United States v. Kuehl, 706 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2013) (rejecting the constitutional nondelegation objection to the retroactive application of SORNA). Thomas entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to advance the constitutional argument on appeal. The Supreme Court recently rejected the argument Thomas now makes, holding that Congress did not “make an impermissible delegation when it instructed the Attorney General to apply SORNA’s registration requirements to pre-Act offenders as soon as feasible.” Gundy v. United States, ––– U.S. ––––, 139 S. Ct. 2116, 2129, 204 L.Ed.2d 522 (2019). Accordingly, we affirm.


1.   The Honorable Linda R. Reade, United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.


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Docket No: No. 18-3275

Decided: October 31, 2019

Court: United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

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