FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND DIVISION [NO.
60CR-15-2107] HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER CHARLES PIAZZA, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
appeal requires us to read Arkansas's
sex-offender-registration law and decide how two particular
statutes apply to Larry Williams, who was convicted by the
circuit court of failing to comply with the law and sentenced
to three years' imprisonment as a result. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 12-12-904 (Supp. 2015) (failure to comply with
reporting and registration requirements). Williams argues on
appeal that the State didn't prove that he had to
register as a sex offender at all, so he couldn't have
violated the law when he failed to report a change of address
to law-enforcement officials. He doesn't contest the
court's finding that he failed to keep law enforcement
timely informed of his residence, if the law does apply to
February 1993, Williams pled guilty to rape. He was sentenced
to forty years in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC)
on that charge, among other things. He was discharged from
the ADC on 27 June 2014.
March 2016, the State filed an amended felony information and
alleged that Williams had violated § 12-12-904 because
he is a registered sex offender who had failed to report a
change of address in May 2015 and had failed to register or
verify his registration from 30 September 2015 to 1 February
waived his right to a jury trial, so a bench trial was held
in April 2016 before the Pulaski County Circuit Court. At
trial, Detective Matt Harrelson testified that Williams
registered with the police department as a sex offender on 1
July 2014. A "Sex Offender Acknowledgment Form"
that Williams had signed on 30 March 2015 stated that he was
to return on 30 September 2015, in person, to the Little Rock
Police Department and verify his address. In May 2015,
however, Detective Harrelson arrested Williams after
determining that he was not living at the registered address.
(The record doesn't explain precisely what happened after
this arrest.) On 22 June 2015, Williams gave law enforcement
a residential address of 1723 South Elm Street; but it was
too close to a school or park, so Detective Harrelson allowed
Williams time to move. The detective subsequently received a
delinquent-verification-of-residency letter from the Arkansas
Crime Information Center (ACIC) indicating that Williams had
missed the September 30 deadline to verify his residence. On
12 November 2015, Detective Harrelson visited Williams's
registered address (1723 South Elm Street), and it appeared
to be vacant. Because the detective didn't know where
Williams was located, an arrest warrant issued, and he was
arrested in due course.
Stitz testified during the trial that she manages the state
sex offender registry for the ACIC and, when asked, said that
the effective date of the laws requiring sex offenders to
register was 1 August 1997, that rape was a qualifying
offense requiring registration, and that a person who had
previously been convicted of rape and was serving a term of
imprisonment on August 1, 1997, had to register when released
from custody. On cross-examination, Stitz agreed that
Williams's 1993 judgment and commitment order doesn't
direct that he had to register as a sex offender.
seized on the fact that the 1993 order doesn't expressly
state that registration was required by arguing in his motion
to dismiss below that the language in the "four
corners" of the 1993 order doesn't contain the
mandatory language required by § 12-12- 906 (A)(1)
(a)(i), which states:
At the time of adjudication of guilt, the sentencing court
shall enter on the judgment and commitment or judgment and
disposition form that the offender is required to register as
a sex offender and shall indicate whether the:
(a) Offense is an aggravated sex offense;
(b) Sex offender has been adjudicated guilty of a prior sex
offense under a ...