Hinson v. State

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

In Hinson v. State,[1] the court of appeals held that in a trial for failure to register as a sex offender charge, it is not plain error to tell the jury the charge involves registration as a sex offender.[2] While issuing a citation during a traffic stop, Alaska State Trooper Joel Miner asked Hinson for his address.[3] Hinson provided Miner with his home address for the citation and told Miner he was a registered sex offender.[4] When Miner ran Hinson’s information through the Alaska Public Safety Information Network, he discovered that his address did not match the one Hinson reported to the sex offender registry.[5] Hinson was charged with felony failure to register as a sex offender for failing to notify the registry of his change of address.[6] The superior court considered whether it should alter the charge so that the jury only heard Hinson had been charged with “failure to register” and not “failure to register as a sex offender,” but decided not to.[7] The court of appeals affirmed the superior court’s decision, reasoning that attempting to disguise the charge would only lead to juror speculation and engender distrust of the legal process.[8] The court of appeals further reasoned that it was necessary for the jurors to understand the specific nature of Hinson’s duty to register to evaluate the element of intent, because a duty to update a sex offender registry as opposed to, for example, a duty to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address may affect jurors’ evaluation of Hinson’s intent.[9] Affirming the superior court’s decision, the court of appeals held that in a trial for failure to register as a sex offender, it is not plain error to tell the jury the charge involves registration as a sex offender.[10]

[1] 377 P.3d 981 (Alaska Ct. App. 2016).
[2] Id. at 986.
[3] Id. at 983.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id. at 985.
[9] Id.
[10] Id. at 986.

Hinson v. State

[CRIMINAL PROCEDURE]

In Hinson v. State,[1] the court of appeals held that in a trial for failure to register as a sex offender charge, it is not plain error to tell the jury the charge involves registration as a sex offender.[2] While issuing a citation during a traffic stop, Alaska State Trooper Joel Miner asked Hinson for his address.[3] Hinson provided Miner with his home address for the citation and told Miner he was a registered sex offender.[4] When Miner ran Hinson’s information through the Alaska Public Safety Information Network, he discovered that his address did not match the one Hinson reported to the sex offender registry.[5] Hinson was charged with felony failure to register as a sex offender for failing to notify the registry of his change of address.[6] The superior court considered whether it should alter the charge so that the jury only heard Hinson had been charged with “failure to register” and not “failure to register as a sex offender,” but decided not to.[7] The court of appeals affirmed the superior court’s decision, reasoning that attempting to disguise the charge would only lead to juror speculation and engender distrust of the legal process.[8] The court of appeals further reasoned that it was necessary for the jurors to understand the specific nature of Hinson’s duty to register to evaluate the element of intent, because a duty to update a sex offender registry as opposed to, for example, a duty to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address may affect jurors’ evaluation of Hinson’s intent.[9] Affirming the superior court’s decision, the court of appeals held that in a trial for failure to register as a sex offender, it is not plain error to tell the jury the charge involves registration as a sex offender.[10]

[1] 377 P.3d 981 (Alaska Ct. App. 2016).
[2] Id. at 986.
[3] Id. at 983.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id. at 985.
[9] Id.
[10] Id. at 986.