District Judge Martin Sheehan Rules that Sex Offender Residency Rules Do Not Apply Retroactively

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2003, appears to support in principle Judge Sheehan’s legal conclusion regarding ex post facto application of a law where the statute of limitations had tolled. The law Sheehan considered had a statute of limitations of one year.  An Eight Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2005 specifically dealing with sex offender residency laws, held them to be legal.Kenton County District Judge Martin Sheehan has ruled that the states’ new sex offender law should not apply to criminals convicted before the new registrations took effect.

Eleven Kenton County residents challenged the application of the law that prevents them from living within 1,000 feet of a playground, school or day care facility.
 Sheehan was critical of state lawmakers in his ruling on Friday.   He wrote: “If the offender is still permitted to visit and linger in such areas for protracted periods, so long as he does not sleep there, what actual protection have we provided our children??  In truth, residency restrictions appear to be little more than a political placebo, offering false comfort to pacify the public’s fear of sex offenders.
 Rulings by District Judges are not binding on other courts..
 The law which became effective July 12, 2006 states:
 KRS 17.545 Registrant prohibited from residing in certain areas — Violations — Exception.
(1) No registrant, as defined in KRS 17.500, shall reside within one thousand (1,000) feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, publicly owned playground, or licensed day care facility. The measurement shall be taken in a straight line from the nearest property line of the school to the nearest property line of the registrant’s place of residence.
(2) For purposes of this section:
(a) The registrant shall have the duty to ascertain whether any property listed in
subsection (1) of this section is within one thousand (1,000) feet of the
registrant’s residence; and
(b) If a new facility opens, the registrant shall be presumed to know and, within
ninety (90) days, shall comply with this section.
(3) Any person who violates subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of:
(a) A Class A misdemeanor for a first offense; and
(b) A Class D felony for the second and each subsequent offense.
(4) Any registrant residing within one thousand (1,000) feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, publicly owned playground, or licensed day care facility on July 12, 2006, shall move and comply with this section within ninety
(90) days of July 12, 2006, and thereafter, shall be subject to the penalties set forth
under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) This section shall not apply to a youthful offender probated or paroled during his or her minority or while enrolled in an elementary or secondary education program.
Effective: July 12, 2006
History: Repealed, reenacted, and amended 2006 Ky. Acts ch. 182, sec. 3, effective
July 12, 2006. — Amended 2004 Ky. Acts ch. 160, sec. 9, effective July 13, 2004. –
Created 2000 Ky. Acts ch. 401, sec. 29, effective April 11, 2000.
Formerly codified as KRS 17.495.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 held a sex offender  law to be an“Ex Post Facto? law in violation of the Constitution. See below:

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a similar but more specific law in Iowa.

539 U.S. ___ (2003)
MARION REYNOLDS STOGNER, PETITIONER,
v.
CALIFORNIA
No. 01-1757.
Supreme Court of United States.
Argued March 31, 2003.
Decided June 26, 2003.
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT.
        In 1993, California enacted a new criminal statute of limitations permitting prosecution for sex-related child abuse where the prior limitations period has expired if, inter alia, the prosecution is begun within one year of a victim’s report to police. A subsequently added provision makes clear that this law revives causes of action barred by prior limitations statutes. In 1998, petitioner Stogner was indicted for sex-related child abuse committed between 1955 and 1973. At the time those crimes were allegedly committed, the limitations period was three years. Stogner moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the Ex Post Facto Clause forbids revival of a previously time-barred prosecution. The trial court agreed, but the California Court of Appeal reversed. The trial court denied Stogner’s subsequent dismissal motion, in which he argued that his prosecution violated the Ex Post Facto and Due Process Clauses. The Court of Appeal affirmed.
        Held: A law enacted after expiration of a previously applicable limitations period violates the Ex Post Facto Clause when it is applied to revive a previously time-barred prosecution. California’s law extends the time in which prosecution is allowed, authorizes prosecutions that the passage of time has previously barred, and was enacted after prior limitations periods for Stogner’s alleged offenses had expired. Such features produce the kind of retroactivity that the Constitution forbids. First, the law threatens the kinds of harm that the Clause seeks to avoid, for the Clause protects liberty by preventing governments from enacting statutes with “manifestly unjust and oppressive” retroactive effects. Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 391. Second, the law falls literally within the categorical descriptions of ex post facto laws that Justice Chase set forth more than 200 years ago in Calder v.
Page 2
Bull, which this Court has recognized as an authoritative account of the Clause’s scope, Collins v. Youngblood, 497 U. S. 37, 46. It falls within the second category, which Justice Chase understood to include a new law that inflicts punishments where the party was not, by law, liable to any punishment. Third, numerous legislators, courts, and commentators have long believed it well settled that the Clause forbids resurrection of a time-barred prosecution. The Reconstruction Congress of 1867 rejected a bill that would have revived time-barred treason prosecutions against Jefferson Davis and others, passing instead a law extending unexpired limitations periods. Roughly contemporaneous State Supreme Courts echoed the view that laws reviving time-barred prosecutions are ex post facto. Even courts that have upheld extensions of unexpired statutes of limitations have consistently distinguished situations where the periods have expired, often using language that suggests a presumption that reviving time-barred criminal cases is not allowed. This Court has not previously spoken decisively on this matter. Neither its recognition that the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination does not apply after the relevant limitations period has expired, Brown v. Walker, 161 U. S. 591, 597-598, nor its holding that a Civil War statute retroactively tolling limitations periods during the war was valid as an exercise of Congress’ war powers, Stewart v. Kahn, 11 Wall. 493, 503-504, dictates the outcome here. Instead, that outcome is determined by the nature of the harms that the law creates, the fact that the law falls within Justice Chase’s second category, and a long line of authority. Pp. 3-26.
        93 Cal. App. 4th 1229,
 

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a similar law in Iowa.
 

Doe v. Miller, 405 F.3d 700 (8th Cir., 2005)

Synopsis:

 In 2002, in an effort to protect children in Iowa from the risk that convicted sex offenders may reoffend in locations close to their residences, the Iowa General Assembly passed, and the Governor of Iowa signed, a bill that prohibits a person convicted of certain sex offenses involving minors from residing within 2000 feet of a school or a registered child care facility. The district court declared the statute unconstitutional on several grounds and enjoined the Attorney General of Iowa and the ninety-nine county attorneys in Iowa from enforcing the prohibition.

        Because we conclude that the Constitution of the United States does not prevent the State of Iowa from regulating the residency

Page 705

of sex offenders in this manner in order to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Iowa, we reverse the judgment of the district court. We hold unanimously that the residency restriction is not unconstitutional on its face. A majority of the panel further concludes that the statute does not amount to unconstitutional ex post facto punishment of persons who committed offenses prior to July 1, 2002, because the appellees have not established by the “clearest proof,” as required by Supreme Court precedent, that the punitive effect of the statute overrides the General Assembly’s legitimate intent to enact a nonpunitive, civil regulatory measure that protects health and safety.

I.

Excerpts from case:
 

The Does also assert that § 692A.2A infringes upon a fundamental constitutional right to intra state travel. The Supreme Court has not decided whether there is a fundamental right to intrastate travel, Memorial Hosp. v. Maricopa County, 415 U.S. 250, 255-56, 94 S.Ct. 1076, 39 L.Ed.2d 306 (1974), although it observed long ago that under the Articles of Confederation, state citizens “possessed the fundamental right, inherent in citizens of all free governments, peacefully to dwell within the limits of their respective states, to move at will from place to place therein, and to have free ingress thereto and egress therefrom.” United States v. Wheeler, 254 U.S. 281, 293, 41 S.Ct. 133, 65 L.Ed. 270 (1920). During the same era, the Court also commented that “the right of locomotion, the right to remove from one place to another according to inclination, is an attribute of personal liberty … secured by the 14th Amendment,” Williams v. Fears, 179 U.S. 270, 274, 21 S.Ct. 128, 45 L.Ed. 186 (1900), but as the Third Circuit observed, “[i]t is unclear whether the travel aspect of cases like Fears can be severed from the general spirit of Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 25 S.Ct. 539, 49 L.Ed. 937 (1905), now thoroughly discredited, that was so prominent in the substantive due process analysis of that period.” Lutz v. City of York, 899 F.2d 255, 266 (3d Cir.1990).
        Some of our sister circuits have recognized a fundamental right to intrastate
Page 713
travel in the context of a “drug exclusion zone” that banned persons from an area of a city for a period of time, Johnson v. City of Cincinnati, 310 F.3d 484, 496-98 (6th Cir.2002), an ordinance that outlawed “cruising” and thus limited the ability of persons to drive on certain major public roads, Lutz, 899 F.2d at 268, and a law that created a durational residency requirement as a condition of eligibility for public housing. King v. New Rochelle Mun. Hous. Auth., 442 F.2d 646, 647-48 (2d Cir.1971). The Second Circuit, for example, reasoned that it would be “meaningless to describe the right to travel between states as a fundamental precept of personal liberty and not to acknowledge a correlative constitutional right to travel within a state.” Id. at 648; see also Johnson, 310 F.3d at 497 n. 4; Lutz, 899 F.2d at 261. Other decisions have held that there is no fundamental right to intrastate travel in the context of a bona fide residency requirement imposed as a condition of municipal employment. Andre v. Bd. of Trs. of Maywood, 561 F.2d 48, 52-53 (7th Cir.1977); Wardwell v. Bd. of Educ., 529 F.2d 625, 627 (6th Cir.1976); Wright v. City of Jackson, 506 F.2d 900, 901-02 (5th Cir.1975); Doe v. City of Lafayette, 377 F.3d 757, 770-71 (7th Cir.2004) (en banc) (holding that city’s ban of sex offender from all public parks did not implicate fundamental right to intrastate travel, where offender was “not limited in moving from place to place within his locality to socialize with friends and family, to participate in gainful employment or to go to the market to buy food and clothing”); Hutchins v. District of Columbia, 188 F.3d 531, 538-39 (D.C.Cir.1999) (en banc) (holding that there is no fundamental right for juveniles to be in a public place without adult supervision during curfew hours).
        We find it unnecessary in this case to decide whether there is a fundamental right to intrastate travel under the Constitution, because assuming such a right is recognized, it would not require strict scrutiny of § 692A.2A. The district court and the Does cite the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Johnson for the proposition that there is a fundamental right to intrastate travel. Accepting that view for purposes of analysis, we believe that any fundamental right to intrastate travel would likely be “correlative” to the right to interstate travel discussed in Saenz, see Johnson, 310 F.3d at 497 n. 4, or would consist of a “right to travel locally through public spaces and roadways.” Id. at 498. Therefore, the Iowa statute would not implicate a right to intrastate travel for the same reasons that it does not implicate the right to interstate travel. The Iowa residency restriction does not prevent a sex offender from entering or leaving any part of the State, including areas within 2000 feet of a school or child care facility, and it does not erect any actual barrier to intrastate movement. In this sense, the Iowa law is comparable to the municipal residency requirements that have been held to implicate no fundamental right to intrastate travel in Andre, Wardwell and Wright, and less restrictive on freedom of movement than the ban on access to public parks upheld under rational basis review in Doe v. City of Lafayette. By contrast, the decisions finding infringement of a fundamental right to intrastate travel have involved laws that trigger concerns not present here — interference with free ingress to and egress from certain parts of a State (Johnson and Lutz) or treatment of new residents of a locality less favorably than existing residents (King).
        The Does also urge that we recognize a fundamental right “to live where you want.” This ambitious articulation of a proposed unenumerated right calls to mind the Supreme Court’s caution that we should proceed with restraint in the area
Page 714
of substantive due process, because “[b]y extending constitutional protection to an asserted right or liberty interest, we, to a great extent, place the matter outside the arena of public debate and legislative action.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 138 L.Ed.2d 772 (1997). Some thirty years ago, our court said “we cannot agree that the right to choose one’s place of residence is necessarily a fundamental right,” Prostrollo v. Univ. of S.D., 507 F.2d 775, 781 (8th Cir.1974), and we see no basis to conclude that the contention has gained strength in the intervening years. The Supreme Court recently has restated its reluctance to “expand the concept of substantive due process because guideposts for responsible decisionmaking in this uncharted area are scarce and open-ended,” Glucksberg, 521 U.S. at 720, 117 S.Ct. 2258 (quoting Collins, 503 U.S. at 125, 112 S.Ct. 1061), and the Does have not developed any argument that the right to “live where you want” is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” id. at 721, 117 S.Ct. 2258 (quoting Moore, 431 U.S. at 503, 97 S.Ct. 1932 (plurality opinion)) or “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if [it] were sacrificed.” Id. (quoting Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325, 326, 58 S.Ct. 149, 82 L.Ed. 288 (1937)). We are thus not persuaded that the Constitution establishes a right to “live where you want” that requires strict scrutiny of a State’s residency restrictions.
        Because § 692A.2A does not implicate a constitutional liberty interest that has been elevated to the status of “fundamental right,” we review the statute to determine whether it meets the standard of “rationally advancing some legitimate governmental purpose.” Flores, 507 U.S. at 306, 113 S.Ct. 1439. The Does acknowledge that the statute was designed to promote the safety of children, and they concede that this is a legitimate state interest. They also allow that perhaps “certain identifiable sex offenders should not live right across the street from a school or perhaps anywhere else where there are children.” (Appellees’ Br. at 51). The Does contend, however, that the statute is irrational because there is no scientific study that supports the legislature’s conclusion that excluding sex offenders from residing within 2000 feet of a school or child care facility is likely to enhance the safety of children.
        We reject this contention because we think it understates the authority of a state legislature to make judgments about the best means to protect the health and welfare of its citizens in an area where precise statistical data is unavailable and human behavior is necessarily unpredictable. Although the Does introduced one report from the Minnesota Department of Corrections finding “no evidence in Minnesota that residential proximity of sex offenders to schools or parks affects reoffense,” this solitary case study — which involved only thirteen reoffenders released from prison between 1997 and 1999 — does not make irrational the decision of the Iowa General Assembly and the Governor of Iowa to reach a different predictive judgment for Iowa. As the district court observed, twelve other States have enacted some form of residency restriction applicable to sex offenders.4 There can be
Page 715
no doubt of a legislature’s rationality in believing that “[s]ex offenders are a serious threat in this Nation,” and that “[w]hen convicted sex offenders reenter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be re-arrested for a new rape or sexual assault.” Conn. Dep’t of Pub. Safety, 538 U.S. at 4, 123 S.Ct. 1160 (alterations in original) (quoting McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 32-33, 122 S.Ct. 2017, 153 L.Ed.2d 47 (2002) (plurality opinion)). The only question remaining is whether, in view of a rationally perceived risk, the chosen residency restriction rationally advances the State’s interest in protecting children.
        We think the decision whether to set a limit on proximity of “across the street” (as appellees suggest), or 500 feet or 3000 feet (as the Iowa Senate considered and rejected, see S. Journal 79, 2d Sess., at 521 (Iowa 2002)), or 2000 feet (as the Iowa General Assembly and the Governor eventually adopted) is the sort of task for which the elected policymaking officials of a State, and not the federal courts, are properly suited. The legislature is institutionally equipped to weigh the benefits and burdens of various distances, and to reconsider its initial decision in light of experience and data accumulated over time. The State of Alabama, for example, originally adopted a residency restriction of 1000 feet, but later increased the distance to 2000 feet, Ala.Code § 15-20-26(a); see also 2000 Ala. Acts 728, § 1; 1999 Ala. Acts 572, § 3, while the Minnesota legislature apparently followed the recommendation of the State’s Department of Corrections that no blanket proximity restriction should be adopted. (Appellee’s App. at 338). Where individuals in a group, such as convicted sex offenders, have “distinguishing
Page 716
characteristics relevant to interests the State has authority to implement, the courts have been very reluctant, as they should be in our federal system and with our respect for the separation of powers, to closely scrutinize legislative choices as to whether, how, and to what extent those interests should be pursued.” City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432, 441-42, 105 S.Ct. 3249, 87 L.Ed.2d 313 (1985).
        The record does not support a conclusion that the Iowa General Assembly and the Governor acted based merely on negative attitudes toward, fear of, or a bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group. Cf. Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 448, 105 S.Ct. 3249; 413 U.S. 528, 534, 93 S.Ct. 2821, 37 L.Ed.2d 782 (1973)’> Dep’t of Agric. v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534, 93 S.Ct. 2821, 37 L.Ed.2d 782 (1973). Sex offenders have a high rate of recidivism, and the parties presented expert testimony that reducing opportunity and temptation is important to minimizing the risk of reoffense. Even experts in the field could not predict with confidence whether a particular sex offender will reoffend, whether an offender convicted of an offense against a teenager will be among those who “cross over” to offend against a younger child, or the degree to which regular proximity to a place where children are located enhances the risk of reoffense against children. One expert in the district court opined that it is just “common sense” that limiting the frequency of contact between sex offenders and areas where children are located is likely to reduce the risk of an offense. (Appellant’s App. at 165). The policymakers of Iowa are entitled to employ such “common sense,” and we are not persuaded that the means selected to pursue the State’s legitimate interest are without rational basis.
IV.
        The Does next argue that the residency restriction, “in combination with” the sex offender registration requirements of § 692A.2, unconstitutionally compels sex offenders to incriminate themselves in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court concluded that a sex offender who establishes residence in a prohibited area must either register his current address, thereby “explicitly admit[ting] the facts necessary to prove the criminal act,” or “refuse to register and be similarly prosecuted.” 298 F.Supp.2d at 879. The court then held that § 692A.2A “unconstitutionally requires sex offenders to provide incriminating evidence against themselves,” and enjoined enforcement of the residency restriction on this basis as well.
        We disagree that the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment renders the residency restriction of § 692A.2A unconstitutional. Our reason is straightforward: the residency restriction does not compel a sex offender to be a witness against himself or a witness of any kind. The statute regulates only where the sex offender may reside; it does not require him to provide any information that might be used against him in a criminal case. A separate section of the Iowa Code, § 692A.2, requires a sex offender to register his address with the county sheriff. The Does have not challenged the constitutionality of the registration requirement, or sought an injunction against its enforcement, and whatever constitutional problem may be posed by the registration provision does not justify invalidating the residency restriction.
        None of the authorities cited by the Does supports invalidation of a substantive rule of law because a reporting or registration requirement allegedly compels a person in violation of that substantive rule to incriminate himself. The Supreme Court held in Marchetti v. United States, 390
Page 717
U.S. 39, 88 S.Ct. 697, 19 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), and Grosso v. United States, 390 U.S. 62, 88 S.Ct. 709, 19 L.Ed.2d 906 (1968), that a gambler was privileged under the Fifth Amendment not to register his occupation as one in the business of accepting wagers, not to pay the required occupational tax, and not to pay a wagering excise tax, because these submissions would create a real and appreciable hazard of self-incrimination for the gambler. The Court never suggested, however, that the Self-Incrimination Clause prevented the government from criminalizing wagering or gambling. Similarly, Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6, 89 S.Ct. 1532, 23 L.Ed.2d 57 (1969), the Court’s holding that a plea of self-incrimination was a complete defense in a prosecution for non-compliance with provisions requiring payment of a tax on marijuana imported into the United States did not imply that state laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana were somehow unconstitutional. Id. at 29, 89 S.Ct. 1532. And Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 382 U.S. 70, 86 S.Ct. 194, 15 L.Ed.2d 165 (1965), where the Court held unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment a requirement that members of the Communist Party file a registration statement with the Attorney General, it was never intimated that the registration requirement rendered unconstitutional Section 4(a) of the Subversive Activities Control Act, under which Albertson might have been prosecuted as a result of the registration.
        Even had the Does challenged the sex offender registration statute, moreover, we believe that a self-incrimination challenge to the registration requirements would not be ripe for decision. Unlike Albertson, where the petitioners had asserted the privilege against self-incrimination on multiple occasions, the Attorney General of the United States had rejected their claims, and specific orders requiring the petitioners to register had been issued, 382 U.S. at 75, 86 S.Ct. 194, the process with respect to enforcement of the Iowa sex offender registration statute in conjunction with the residency restriction is far less developed. The record does not show whether any of the plaintiffs has registered with the county sheriff an address that is prohibited by § 692A.2A, whether any of the county attorneys or the Attorney General would seek to use registration information to further a criminal prosecution for violation of the residency restriction (rather than merely as a regulatory mechanism to bring sex offenders into compliance with the statute),5 or whether the prosecuting authorities would recognize a refusal to register as a valid assertion of the privilege against self-incrimination (and thus decline to prosecute a sex offender for failing to register a prohibited residence).
        We think that under these circumstances, a self-incrimination challenge to the registration statute would be premature. See Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Bd., 367 U.S. 1, 106-10, 81 S.Ct. 1357, 6 L.Ed.2d 625 (1961); cf Selective Serv. Sys. v. Minn. Pub. Interest Research Group, 468 U.S. 841, 858, 104 S.Ct. 3348, 82 L.Ed.2d 632 (1984). If and when there is a prosecution for violation of the residency restriction in which the prosecution makes use of a sex offender’s registration, a prosecution for failure to register a prohibited address, or some other basis such as in Albertson to say that the
Page 718
dispute is ripe, then the self-incrimination issue will be joined. It would then be appropriate to consider such questions as whether the registration requirement as applied falls under the rule of cases such as Marchetti and Albertson, where the Fifth Amendment was held to prohibit incriminating registration or reporting requirements directed at persons “inherently suspect of criminal activities,” Albertson, 382 U.S. at 79, 86 S.Ct. 194, or whether the public need for information about convicted sex offenders and the noncriminal regulatory purpose for securing the information might permit enforcement of the requirement consistent with the Fifth Amendment. Cf. Baltimore City 493 U.S. 549, 557-59, 110 S.Ct. 900, 107 L.Ed.2d 992 (1990)’>Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. Bouknight, 493 U.S. 549, 557-59, 110 S.Ct. 900, 107 L.Ed.2d 992 (1990); California v. Byers, 402 U.S. 424, 431-34, 91 S.Ct. 1535, 29 L.Ed.2d 9 (1971) (plurality opinion); id. at 457-58, 91 S.Ct. 1535 (Harlan, J., concurring in the judgment). At this point, we conclude that the Does’ self-incrimination claim is both misdirected and premature.
V.
        A final, and narrower, challenge advanced by the Does is that § 692A.2A is an unconstitutional ex post facto law because it imposes retroactive punishment on those who committed a sex offense prior to July 1, 2002. The Ex Post Facto Clause of Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution prohibits the States from enacting laws that increase punishment for criminal acts after they have been committed. Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386, 390, 3 Dall. 386, 1 L.Ed. 648 (1798) (Chase, J., seriatim). In determining whether a state statute violates the Ex Post Facto Clause by imposing such punishment, we apply the framework outlined Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 92, 123 S.Ct. 1140, 155 L.Ed.2d 164 (2003), where the Supreme Court considered an ex post facto challenge to an Alaska statute requiring sex offenders to register. Under that framework, we must first “ascertain whether the legislature meant the statute to establish `civil’ proceedings.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). If the legislature intended criminal punishment, then the legislative intent controls the inquiry and the law is necessarily punitive. Id. If, however, the legislature intended its law to be civil and nonpunitive, then we must determine whether the law is nonetheless “so punitive either in purpose or effect as to negate” the State’s nonpunitive intent. Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted). “[O]nly the clearest proof” will transform what the legislature has denominated a civil regulatory measure into a criminal penalty. Id.
        The district court found that in passing the residency restriction of § 692A.2A, the Iowa General Assembly intended to create “a civil, non-punitive statutory scheme to protect the public.” 298 F.Supp.2d at 868. The Does do not dispute this conclusion on appeal, and we agree that the legislature’s intent was not punitive. Although Iowa Code § 692A.2A does not contain any clear statement of purpose, the residency restriction is codified as part of Chapter 692A, together with a registration system that the Supreme Court of Iowa has declared to have a purpose of “protect[ing] society” and to be a nonpunitive, regulatory law. In Interest of S.M.M., 558 N.W.2d 405, 408 (Iowa 1997); State v. Pickens, 558 N.W.2d 396, 400 (Iowa 1997). “[W]here a legislative restriction is an incident of the State’s power to protect the health and safety of its citizens, it will be considered as evidencing an intent to exercise that regulatory power, and not a purpose to add to the punishment.” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 93-94, 123 S.Ct. 1140 (quoting Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 616, 80 S.Ct. 1367,
Page 719
4 L.Ed.2d 1435 (1960)) (internal marks omitted). We believe the available evidence leads most naturally to the inference that the restrictions in § 692A.2A are intended, like the restrictions elsewhere in the same chapter, to protect the health and safety of Iowa citizens. Therefore, we conclude that the purpose of the Iowa General Assembly in passing this law was regulatory and non-punitive.
        We must next consider whether the Does have established that the law was nonetheless so punitive in effect as to negate the legislature’s intent to create a civil, non-punitive regulatory scheme. In this inquiry, we refer to what the Supreme Court described in Smith v. Doe as “useful guideposts” for determining whether a law has a punitive effect. In analyzing the effect of the Alaska sex offender registration law, the Court in Smith pointed to five factors drawn from Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 168-69, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644 (1963), as particularly relevant: whether the law has been regarded in our history and traditions as punishment, whether it promotes the traditional aims of punishment, whether it imposes an affirmative disability or restraint, whether it has a rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose, and whether it is excessive with respect to that purpose. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 97, 123 S.Ct. 1140. These factors are “neither exhaustive nor dispositive,” id. (quotation omitted), and while we consider them as an aid to our analysis, we bear in mind that the ultimate question always remains whether the punitive effects of the law are so severe as to constitute the “clearest proof” that a statute intended by the legislature to be nonpunitive and regulatory should nonetheless be deemed to impose ex post facto punishment.
        Turning first to any historical tradition regarding residency restrictions, the Does argue that § 692A.2A is the effective equivalent of banishment, which has been regarded historically as a punishment. See Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 98, 123 S.Ct. 1140. Banishment has been defined as “`punishment inflicted on criminals by compelling them to quit a city, place, or country for a specified period of time, or for life,’” United States v. Ju Toy, 198 U.S. 253, 269-70, 25 S.Ct. 644, 49 L.Ed. 1040 (1905) (Brewer, J., dissenting) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary), or “expulsion from a country.” Black’s Law Dictionary 154, 614 (8th ed.2004). The Supreme Court most recently explained that banished offenders historically could not “return to their original community,” and that the banishment of an offender “expelled him from the community.” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 98, 123 S.Ct. 1140; Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698, 730, 13 S.Ct. 1016, 37 L.Ed. 905 (1893) (holding that order of deportation is “not a banishment, in the sense in which that word is often applied to the expulsion of a citizen from his country by way of punishment”).
        While banishment of course involves an extreme form of residency restriction, we ultimately do not accept the analogy between the traditional means of punishment and the Iowa statute. Unlike banishment, § 692A.2A restricts only where offenders may reside. It does not “expel” the offenders from their communities or prohibit them from accessing areas near schools or child care facilities for employment, to conduct commercial transactions, or for any purpose other than establishing a residence. With respect to many offenders, the statute does not even require a change of residence: the Iowa General Assembly included a grandfather provision that permits sex offenders to maintain a residence that was established prior to July 1, 2002, even if that residence is within 2000 feet of a school or child care facility. Iowa Code
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§ 692A.2A(4)(c). The district court, moreover, found that residency restrictions for sex offenders “are relatively new and somewhat unique,” 298 F.Supp.2d at 849 n. 4, and as with sex offender registration laws, which also were of “fairly recent origin,” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 97, 123 S.Ct. 1140 (internal quotation omitted), this novelty “suggests that the statute was not meant as a punitive measure, or, at least, that it did not involve a traditional means of punishing.” Id. We thus conclude that this law is unlike banishment in important respects, and we do not believe it is of a type that is traditionally punitive.
        The second factor that we consider is whether the law promotes the traditional aims of punishment — deterrence and retribution. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 102, 123 S.Ct. 1140. The district court found that the law was both deterrent and retributive, and thus weighed this factor in favor of its finding that the law was punitive. We agree with the district court that the law could have a deterrent effect, but we do not agree that the deterrent effect provides a strong inference that the restriction is punishment. The primary purpose of the law is not to alter the offender’s incentive structure by demonstrating the negative consequences that will flow from committing a sex offense. The Iowa statute is designed to reduce the likelihood of reoffense by limiting the offender’s temptation and reducing the opportunity to commit a new crime. We observe, moreover, that the Supreme Court has cautioned that this factor not be over-emphasized, for it can “prove[] too much,” as “[a]ny number of governmental programs might deter crime without imposing punishment.” Id.
        The statute’s “retributive” effect is similarly difficult to evaluate. For example, while the Ninth Circuit found punishment where the length of sex offender reporting requirements corresponded to the degree of wrongdoing rather than the extent of the risk imposed, Doe I v. Otte, 259 F.3d 979, 990 (9th Cir.2001), rev’d sub nom. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 123 S.Ct. 1140, 155 L.Ed.2d 164 (2003), the Supreme Court disagreed, and instead emphasized that the reporting requirements were “reasonably related to the danger of recidivism” in a way that was “consistent with the regulatory objective.” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 102, 123 S.Ct. 1140. While any restraint or requirement imposed on those who commit crimes is at least potentially retributive in effect, we believe that § 692A.2A, like the registration requirement in Smith v. Doe, is consistent with the legislature’s regulatory objective of protecting the health and safety of children.
        The next factor we consider is whether the law “imposes an affirmative disability or restraint.” Imprisonment is the “paradigmatic” affirmative disability or restraint, Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 100, 123 S.Ct. 1140, but other restraints, such as probation or occupational debarment, also can impose some restriction on a person’s activities. Id. at 100-01, 123 S.Ct. 1140. While restrictive laws are not necessarily punitive, they are more likely to be so; by contrast, “[i]f the disability or restraint is minor and indirect, its effects are unlikely to be punitive.” Id. at 100, 123 S.Ct. 1140. For example, sex offender registration laws, requiring only periodic reporting and updating of personal information, do not have a punitive restraining effect. Id. at 102, 123 S.Ct. 1140. At the same time, civil commitment of the mentally ill, though extremely restrictive and disabling to those who are committed, does not necessarily impose punishment because it bears a reasonable relationship to a “legitimate nonpunitive objective,” namely protecting the public from mentally unstable
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individuals. Hendricks, 521 U.S. at 363, 117 S.Ct. 2072.
        Iowa Code § 692A.2A is more disabling than the sex offender registration law at issue in Smith v. Doe, which had not “led to substantial occupational or housing disadvantages for former sex offenders that would not have otherwise occurred through the use of routine background checks by employers and landlords.” 538 U.S. at 100, 123 S.Ct. 1140. Although the Does did not present much evidence about housing within restricted areas that would have been available to them absent the statute, they did show that some sex offenders would have lived with spouses or parents who owned property in the restricted zones, and some sex offenders were living in residences within restricted areas that were permitted under the statute’s “grandfather” provision. The residency restriction is certainly less disabling, however, than the civil commitment scheme at issue in Hendricks, which permitted complete confinement of affected persons. In both Smith and Hendricks, the Court considered the degree of the restraint involved in light of the legislature’s countervailing nonpunitive purpose, and the Court in Hendricks emphasized that the imposition of an affirmative restraint “does not inexorably lead to the conclusion that the government has imposed punishment.” 521 U.S. at 363, 117 S.Ct. 2072 (internal quotation omitted). Likewise here, while we agree with the Does that § 692A.2A does impose an element of affirmative disability or restraint, we believe this factor ultimately points us to the importance of the next inquiry: whether the law is rationally connected to a nonpunitive purpose, and whether it is excessive in relation to that purpose.
        This final factor — whether the regulatory scheme has a “rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose” — is the “most significant factor” in the ex post facto analysis. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 102, 123 S.Ct. 1140. The requirement of a “rational connection” is not demanding: A “statute is not deemed punitive simply because it lacks a close or perfect fit with the nonpunitive aims it seeks to advance.” Id. at 103, 123 S.Ct. 1140. The district court found “no doubt” that § 692A.2A has a purpose other than punishing sex offenders, 298 F.Supp.2d at 870, and we agree. In light of the high risk of recidivism posed by sex offenders, Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 103, 123 S.Ct. 1140, the legislature reasonably could conclude that § 692A.2A would protect society by minimizing the risk of repeated sex offenses against minors.
        The district court nonetheless concluded that the statute is excessive in relation to this purpose, because the law applies “regardless of whether a particular offender is a danger to the public.” 298 F.Supp.2d at 871. The absence of a particularized risk assessment, however, does not necessarily convert a regulatory law into a punitive measure, for “[t]he Ex Post Facto Clause does not preclude a State from making reasonable categorical judgments that conviction of specified crimes should entail particular regulatory consequences.” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 103, 123 S.Ct. 1140. The Supreme Court over the years has held that restrictions on several classes of offenders are nonpunitive, despite the absence of particularized determinations, including laws prohibiting the practice of medicine by convicted felons, Hawker v. New York, 170 U.S. 189, 197, 18 S.Ct. 573, 42 L.Ed. 1002 (1898), laws prohibiting convicted felons from serving as officers or agents of a union, De Veau v. Braisted, 363 U.S. 144, 160, 80 S.Ct. 1146, 4 L.Ed.2d 1109 (1960) (plurality opinion); id. at 160-61, 80 S.Ct. 1146 (opinion of Brennan, J.), and of course laws
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requiring the registration of sex offenders. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 106, 123 S.Ct. 1140.
        In this case, we conclude that a categorical rule is consistent with the legislature’s regulatory purpose and not “excessive” within the meaning of the Supreme Court’s decisions. While the Does argue that the legislature must tailor restrictions to the individual circumstances of different sex offenders, we view this position as inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s direction that the “excessiveness” prong of the ex post facto analysis does not require a “close or perfect fit” between the legislature’s nonpunitive purpose and the corresponding regulation. The evidence presented at trial suggested that convicted sex offenders as a class were more likely to commit sex offenses against minors than the general population. Dr. McEchron indicated that “there are never any guarantees that [sex offenders] won’t reoffend,” (Appellant’s App. at 162), and Mr. Allison testified that “any sex offender is always going to be of some concern forever.” (T. Tr. at 279).
        More specifically, in Allison’s view, even an offender who committed a crime involving an older victim, such as statutory rape, would be of concern around a day care or elementary school, although the concern may be reduced, (T. Tr. at 278), and Dr. Rosell testified that while he believed that a sex offender who committed an offense with a 14 or 15-year-old victim was likely to stay in that age range, there also was no way to predict whether a sex offender would “cross over” in selecting victims from adults to children or males to females. (Appellee’s App. at 149, 184). Dr. Rosell was less than definitive about the degree to which sex offenders’ future behavior was predictable and avoidable; while he personally did not believe residential proximity made “that big of a difference,” he agreed that “what works in criminal justice is imprecise at best,” and testified that “[t]here is always a risk” of reoffense. (Appellee’s App. at 193, 195, 190). In view of the higher-than-average risk of reoffense posed by convicted sex offenders, and the imprecision involved in predicting what measures will best prevent recidivism, we do not believe the Does have established that Iowa’s decision to restrict all such offenders from residing near schools and child care facilities constitutes punishment despite the legislature’s regulatory purpose.
        The Does also urge that the law is excessive in relation to its regulatory purpose because there is no scientific evidence that a 2000-foot residency restriction is effective at preventing sex offender recidivism. “The excessiveness inquiry of our ex post facto jurisprudence is not an exercise in determining whether the legislature has made the best choice possible to address the problem it seeks to remedy,” but rather an inquiry into “whether the regulatory means chosen are reasonable in light of the nonpunitive objective.” Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. at 105, 123 S.Ct. 1140. In this case, there was expert testimony that reducing the frequency of contact between sex offenders and children is likely to reduce temptation and opportunity, which in turn is important to reducing the risk of reoffense. None of the witnesses was able to articulate a precise distance that optimally balanced the benefit of reducing risk to children with the burden of the residency restrictions on sex offenders, and the Does’ expert acknowledged that “[t]here is nothing in the literature that has addressed proximity.” (Appellee’s App. 198; accord id. at 41, 47-48 (testimony of Dr. McEchron)). As even Dr. Rosell admitted, we just “don’t know” that the Iowa Legislature “isn’t ahead of the curve.” (Id. at 198).
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        We believe the legislature’s decision to select a 2000-foot restriction, as opposed to the other distances that were considered and rejected, is reasonably related to its regulatory purpose. Given the challenge in determining precisely what distance is best suited to minimize risk to children without unnecessarily restricting sex offenders, and the difficult policy judgments inherent in that choice, we conclude that the Does have not established the “clearest proof” that Iowa’s choice is excessive in relation to its legitimate regulatory purpose, such that a statute designed to be nonpunitive and regulatory should be considered retroactive criminal punishment.6
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        The judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded with directions to enter judgment in favor of the defendants.

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