5/15/09 – TG: Sex offender [Jon Curry] pleads guilty for violating registry laws

Texarkana Gazette
May 15, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Sex offender pleads guilty for violating registry laws

A convicted sex offender who was arrested on Tony Alamo Christian Ministries property pleaded guilty Thursday to violating federal sex offender registration laws.

Jonathan Curry’s plea was taken by U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson of the Fort Smith Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

A date for sentencing will be scheduled after federal probation authorities complete an investigation into Curry’s life and prepare a report for the court.

Pre-sentence reports typically include narratives describing relative information about a defendant including their social, educational and criminal histories as well as a recommendation for punishment under federal guidelines.

Curry is being represented by federal public defender Bruce Eddy and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Candace Taylor.

He could receive up to 10 years in prison and be fined as much as $250,000.

The following account is taken from the FBI affidavit.

On April 23, 2002, in a courtroom in Clark County, Nevada, Curry was sentenced by District Judge Valerie Vega to state prison for attempted lewdness with a child under the age of 14. At sentencing, Vega ordered Curry to a lifetime of supervision by the state’s probation and parole division.

When he was released in November 2007, Curry signed a lifetime supervision agreement that directed him to register as a sex offender. Nevada officials became aware that Curry had failed to register April 4, 2008.

“Sometime thereafter, Curry moved to Arkansas,” the affidavit said.

Curry was arrested after U.S. Marshals c o n f i r m e d he had never registered as a sex offender in Arkansas either. He has been in jail since his arrest Jan. 12.

Earlier in the case, Dawson denied a motion to dismiss the indictment against Curry.

The motion Eddy filed claims the federal Sex Offender Registration Act, SORNA, which is part of the Adam Walsh Act, has several problems that make it unenforceable.

First, Eddy argued that failing to register as a sex offender doesn’t affect interstate commerce and thus doesn’t meet the criteria necessary to make it a violation of federal law. Second, Eddy complains that Curry’s due process rights were violated because he didn’t receive “fair notice” of the stiff penalties he faced under federal law when he was required to register under Nevada state law.

Lastly, Eddy argues that SORNA gives power that should belong to Congress to the U.S. Attorney General in violation of the “delegation clause” governing the separation of the government’s legislative, judicial and executive branches.

As a condition of his plea, Curry reserved the right to appeal Dawson’s ruling on the motion to dismiss. If he wins the appeal, he can withdraw his guilty plea, the agreement said.

Similar cases that have gone before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which addresses questions arising from District Courts in the Western District of Arkansas, have been upheld and SORNA deemed good law.

“However, it is anticipated that the United States Supreme Court may in the future hear the aforementioned issues,” Eddy wrote in the motion.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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