4/14/09 – Jury selection starts Wednesday in convicted sex offender [Curry] case

Texarkana Gazette
April 14, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Jury selection starts Wednesday in convicted sex offender

J. Curry

J. Curry

Jury selection in the trial of a convicted sex offender with ties to Tony Alamo Christian Ministries will begin Wednesday in Fort Smith, Ark., now that a federal judge has refused to dismiss the charges.

Jonathon Patrick Curry was living in an Alamo Ministries warehouse in Fort Smith when he was arrested in January for allegedly violating federal sex offender registration laws.

Curry’s defense attorney, federal public defender Bruce Eddy, filed a motion April 3 claiming the charges should be dismissed because the laws under which Curry is charged are unconstitutional.

The motion Eddy filed noted that appellate courts in other federal districts have ruled that the Adam Walsh Act, which mandates punishment for offenders who violate the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, doesn’t meet the criteria necessary to be a federal law.

Eddy’s motion argues that failing to register as a sex offender and crossing state lines doesn’t affect interstate commerce and thus should be considered only a violation of state law. The motion Eddy filed also concedes that the 8th Circuit, the appellate court with authority over the Western District of Arkansas where Curry’s federal case is pending, has found federal sex offenders laws are constitutional.

“Defendant states he files this motion to preserve the issue for appeal as district courts in other circuits have ruled to the contrary,” U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson’s order said. “The court declines to abandon Eighth Circuit precedent based upon district court opinions from other circuits.”

By raising the constitutional objection, Eddy has made sure that if convicted, Curry can use the argument as part of any future appeal before a higher court.

He faces a fine of up to $250,000 and as many as 10 years in a federal prison if the jury finds him guilty.

In 2002, Curry was convicted of attempted lewdness with a minor involving a child under age 14 by a judge in Clark County, Nev., according to a federal arrest affidavit. Because of the nature of his conviction, the 49-year-old was ordered to a lifetime of supervision by state authorities and required to regis ter as a sex offender.

But Curry didn’t register with officials in Nevada upon his release from prison Nov. 20, 2007. Instead he crossed state lines and moved to church property in Arkansas, the affidavit states. Curry didn’t register in Arkansas as a sex offender, either.

A federal agent began documenting Curry’s residence on Alamo Ministries property last November. “Keep out Jon Curry’s Room,” read a sign on the door of his living quarters, according to the federal arrest affidavit. He was arrested Jan. 13 and has been in the custody of federal authorities since.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.