of Appeals No. 0826-17-2
All the Justices
appeal from a judgment rendered by the Court of Appeals of
consideration of the record, briefs, and arguments of
counsel, for the reasons set forth below, the Court is of
opinion that the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be
Code of Virginia establishes a different registration regime
for sex offenders and sexually violent offenders. A person
who is classified as a sexually violent offender must
register with the State Police every 90 days from the date of
initial registration. Code § 9.1-904(A). A person who is
a sex offender but not a sexually violent offender must
register with the State Police on an annual basis.
Id. The Code also specifies the out-of-state
convictions for which a person must register in Virginia, and
whether those convictions require a person to register as a
sexually violent offender. Code § 9.1-902(F). The
Commonwealth concluded that Thomas Sydney Turner was required
to register as a sexually violent offender. When he failed to
reregister within the 90-day period, he was prosecuted and
convicted for failing to reregister as a sexually violent
offender under Code § 18.2-472.1(B).
acknowledges that he must register as a sex offender. He
argues, however, that he was erroneously classified as a
sexually violent offender and he should not have
been convicted for failing to reregister within the 90-day
period. The trial court and the Court of Appeals disagreed.
We granted Turner an appeal.
record establishes that, in 2004, Turner was convicted in
Idaho of "Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the Age of 16, a
felony," in violation of Idaho Code § 18-1506,
he was ordered to register "as a sex offender" with
the State of Idaho. Turner moved to Virginia from Idaho in
March 3, 2016, Turner registered as a sex offender at
Virginia State Police headquarters. He acknowledged in
writing that the State Police would review his registration
to determine if he is required to register and the
classification level associated with his registration. A
March 15, 2016 letter from the State Police advised that
Turner's Idaho offense had been classified as sexually
violent. It further stated Turner was required to reregister
every 90 days because his Idaho conviction was
"substantially similar to a sexually violent offense as
outlined in Section 9.1-902, Code of Virginia,
and/or [he had been] convicted of an offense for which
registration in a Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors
Registry is required under the laws of the jurisdiction where
[he was] convicted."
days after the letter was sent, Turner appeared at State
Police headquarters to register a change of address. On the
registration form, Turner acknowledged he had been classified
as a "Sexually Violent Offender" requiring him to
reregister every 90 days. The registration form, which Turner
signed, also advised that if he failed to reregister, he
could be convicted under Code § 18.2-472.1. Four days
later, on March 29, Turner registered another change of
address. He again signed an acknowledgement that he was
classified as a sexually violent offender and required to
reregister every 90 days.
his June 1, 2016 reregistration deadline, Turner returned to
State Police headquarters to reregister and, again,
acknowledged in writing his classification as a sexually
violent offender. The reregistration form stated at the top,
in all capital letters, "Violent Sex Offender" and
reiterated he was required to reregister every 90 days.
next reregistration deadline was August 30, 2016. Turner
signed the reregistration form on August 23, 2016, but it was
not received by the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors
Registry ("the Registry") until September 7, 2016.
Police began an investigation after Turner's
reregistration form was received late, and an investigator
met with Turner in late October. Turner told the trooper he
had reregistered but was unsure of the date. He also said he
thought he had to reregister only once or twice a year and
that he had been classified as a non-violent offender in
Idaho. Turner was arrested, charged, and convicted for
failing to reregister as a sexually violent offender. The
Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed those convictions by
unpublished opinion. This appeal followed.
§ 9.1-902(A) ...