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Trotter v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 15, 2018

WILLIE TROTTER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF HAWAII; HAWAII PAROLING AUTHORITY; and HAWAII CRIMINAL JUSTICE DATA CENTER, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS; ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          SUSAN OKI MOLLWAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         In 1983, Plaintiff Willie Trotter was convicted in Minnesota of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree. In 2000, he was living in Hawaii and was required to register as a sex offender. Trotter brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his federal due process rights were violated when he was required to register as a sex offender. Trotter, who is proceeding pro se, seeks more than $12 million in damages and an injunction prohibiting the State of Hawaii and its agencies from requiring him to remain registered as a sex offender and mandating that his name be removed from Hawaii's sex offender database.

         On December 19, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. See ECF No. 23. Trotter did not timely oppose that motion, but later filed his own Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, which the court deems to also be his opposition to Defendants' motion. See ECF Nos. 26 and 27. The court grants Defendants' motion without a hearing pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d). The court denies Trotter's motion.

         II. BACKGROUND.

         In 1983, Trotter was convicted in Minnesota of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree. Section 609.344 (1982) of Minnesota Statutes prohibits sexual penetration by force or coercion. Trotter was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment. See Complaint, ECF No. 1, PageID # 3 (“In 1983 I was convicted of a sex offense in Minneapolis, Minn sentence to 32 month I served out my entire sentence.”); State v. Trotter, 354 N.W.2d 539, 540 (1984) (“Appellant Willie Darrel Trotter was convicted of . . . criminal sexual conduct in the third degree . . . in violation of Minn. Stat. § . . . 609.344(c) . . . (1982) . . . . Appellant was sentenced to a prison term of 32 months.”); see also State v. Daby, 359 N.W.2d 730, 732-33 (1984) (quoting section 609.344 (1982) of Minnesota Statutes as providing, “A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree . . . if he engages in sexual penetration with another person and . . . (t)he actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the penetration . . . .”).

         A violation of Minnesota's section 609.344 requires “intent to sexually penetrate.” State v. Wenthe, 865 N.W.2d 293, 302 (Minn. 2015) (“Generally, criminal sexual conduct offenses require only an intent to sexually penetrate, unless additional mens rea requirements are expressly provided.”); see also 10 Minn. Prac., Jury Instr. Guides-Crim. CRIMJIG 12.21 (6th ed 2017) (Minnesota model criminal jury instruction for section 609.344 requiring intentional sexual penetration of victim).

         On appeal, Minnesota's Court of Appeals determined that there was sufficient evidence to support Trotter's conviction. The court said that the jury could have reasonably concluded that Trotter was guilty because it was entitled to believe the victim's account of what happened and there was corroborating physical evidence. Trotter, 354 N.W.2d at 540-41.

         Trotter alleges that he is not required to register as a sex offender in Minnesota. Complaint, ECF No. 1, PageID 3 (“I do not have to register in the state the offense occur.”); ECF No. 1-4, PageID # 9 (nongovernmental website describing the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry as requiring registration of “sex offenders who are released, sentenced, or adjudicated delinquent on or after August 1, 1991”). Trotter's allegation appears consistent with Minnesota's registration law, which refers only to offenders released after the date Trotter would have completed his prison sentence. For example, in the bill enacting Minnesota's registration law, the Minnesota legislature expressly provided that its effective date was “August 1, 1991, and applies to offenders released from imprisonment on or after that date.” 1991 Minn. ch. 285, § 13a. The Court of Appeals of Minnesota has therefore stated, “The legislature provided that the [registration] statute applies to offenders released from prison August 1, 1991, regardless of the date of the offense.” State v. Manning, 532 N.W.2d 244, 247 (1995).

         In 1997, Trotter was convicted in Hawaii of a drug paraphernalia offense and sentenced to an open 5-year term of imprisonment. See Complaint, ECF No. 1, PageID # 3. Trotter says that, in 2000 when he was paroled, he was forced to register as a sex offender pursuant to Chapter 846E of Hawaii Revised Statutes. Id.

         Section 846E-2(a) of Hawaii Revised Statutes provides that, whenever a “covered offender” is a resident or remains in the state for more than ten days (or for an aggregate period of more than 30 days in any one year), that “covered offender shall register with the attorney general and comply with the provisions of this chapter for life or for a shorter period of time as provided in this chapter.” In addition to registering with the attorney general, each “covered offender” must also register with the chief of police for the purpose of providing the “covered offender's” photograph, fingerprints, and registration information. Haw. Rev. Stat. 846E-2(g). Beginning on June 30, 2009, a “covered offender” was required to report in person to the chief of police every year, within a 30-day period following the “covered offender's” birthday, to review the existing information in the registry and correct any information that was inaccurate and to allow for the taking of a new photograph of the “covered offender.” Id. Trotter reported to the chief of police in September 2000. See ECF No. 1-7 (Trotter's Sept. 25, 2000, Sex Offender Registration); ECF No. 1-2 (letter indicating that Trotter registered with the Honolulu Police Department on September 25, 2000).

         Chapter 846E defines “covered offender” as a “sex offender.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 846E-1. “Sex offender” is defined as including a “person who is or has been convicted at any time . . . of a ‘sexual offense.'” Id. (emphasis added). “Sex offense” covers a number of sex crimes, including section 707-731(1)(a), which states: “A person commits the offense of sexual assault in the second degree if: (a) The person knowingly subjects another person to an act of sexual penetration by compulsion.” Id. Chapter 846E also defines “sex offense” as including “[a] criminal offense that is comparable to or that exceeds a sexual offense defined in [section 707-731(1)(a)].” Id. “Sex offense” also includes out-of-state convictions “for any offense that under the laws of [Hawaii] would be a sexual offense, ” including under section 707-731(a).

         Trotter was convicted in Minnesota of intentional sexual penetration by force or coercion, which is comparable to and would be the sexual offense described in Hawaii's section 707-731(1)(a)--knowingly subjecting another person to sexual penetration by compulsion. Trotter is therefore a “sex offender” or “covered offender” for purposes of Hawaii's Chapter 846E.

         Section 846E-2(a) provides that a “covered offender shall be eligible to petition the court in a civil proceeding for an order that the covered offender's registration requirements under this chapter be terminated, as provided in section 846E-10.” Trotter says he was labeled as a Tier 3 offender. Id. It appears that this determination was made pursuant to section 846E-10 of Hawaii Revised Statutes, which categorizes Tier 3 offenses as including “[a]ny criminal offense that is comparable to” a number of listed offenses, including that described in section 707-731(1)(a). Tier 3 offenders must register for life, unless the requirement is terminated. Haw. Rev. Stat. 846E-10(a). Tier 3 offenders may not petition a court in a civil proceeding for termination of the registration requirements until “forty years after the covered offender's date of release or sentencing, whichever is later.” Haw. Rev. Stat. 846E-10(e).

         Trotter complains that the Hawaii Paroling Authority and the Hawaii Criminal Justice Center, two official offices for the State of Hawaii, “did not comply with giving plaintiff due process hearing before placing plaintiff on the sex offender registration” in 2000. ECF No. 1, PageID # 2. Trotter claims that Chapter 846E is inapplicable to out-of-state convictions and says that he was denied due process when he was not given a chance to raise this argument in a hearing before being forced to register as a sex offender in 2000 under Chapter 846E. Id., PageID # 3.

         III. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE ...


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