Haskell v. United States of America
ORDER denying defendant's 1 request, viewed as a motion for relief from registration, without prejudice to tis reassertion in the appropriate court. Signed by Honorable Joe Heaton on 9/11/2017. (cla)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
RICHARD ALAN HASKELL,
Defendant Richard Alan Haskell previously forwarded a letter to the court seeking
relief from the requirement that he register as a sex offender. The court initially viewed
the letter as a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and ordered a
response from the Government. The Government filed a motion to dismiss, essentially
arguing that defendant’s request was in the nature of a habeas petition, that it was therefore
a sort of attack on the judgment and conviction, and was therefore barred by the provisions
of his plea agreement which waived his right to appeal or collaterally challenge his
Defendant pled guilty in 2002 to charges related to child pornography, and was
sentenced to 24 months in prison. He was also required to register as a sex offender. He
apparently later moved to Florida, where he currently resides. He claims that he has a clean
record, and therefore qualifies for removal from the sex offender registry under 42 U.S.C.
Upon further review of defendant’s request, the court concludes it should not be
viewed as seeking habeas relief as it does not attack the validity of his sentence or
conviction or the manner of its execution. Rather, it seeks a determination that, pursuant
to § 16915 and in light of the passage of time and other circumstances, he is no longer
required to register as a sex offender. As a result, defendant’s request is not within the
scope of defendant’s waiver of collateral challenge rights in his plea agreement,1 and that
waiver is not a basis for rejecting defendant’s request if it is otherwise appropriate.2
The court concludes, however, that the relief defendant seeks is not properly sought
in this court. 42 U.S.C. § 16915 sets out the period for which various levels of sex offenders
must register and the standards by which the period of registration may be reduced. It does
not, though, authorize the sentencing court to determine when those standards for reduction
have been met. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) 42 U.S.C.
§ 16901 et seq. does not establish a federal sex offender registry, but instead sets out
guidelines for the states and other jurisdictions in the creating and maintaining the
registries. See id. § 16912. Therefore, to the extent that defendant seeks a determination
of whether he is still required to register, the determination must be made by the jurisdiction
where registration would otherwise be required.
As noted above, defendant is apparently a Florida resident and, as his submissions
reflect, Florida has a statutory procedure for relief from the registration requirement in
The plea agreement attached to the government’s motion has pages missing, including
those containing the actual language of waiver. However, the government’s characterization of
the pertinent language, along with a limited quotation of it in the motion, indicates the waiver
extends to collateral challenges to the conviction or sentence.
If defendant’s request was in the nature of a habeas claim, it would be rejected both by
reason of the waiver and due to defendant not being “in custody” as required for habeas relief in
this context. See Calhoun v. Attorney Gen., 745 F.3d 1070 (10th Cir. 2014).
certain circumstances. The statute contemplates a proceeding in the criminal division of
the circuit court of the circuit in which the offender resides. See Fla. Stat. 943.04354
(current through 2017 First Regular Session and Special “A” Session of the 25th
Legislature). Any relief from the registration requirement to which defendant may be
entitled should therefore be sought in the appropriate court in Florida.
Defendant’s request, viewed as a motion for relief from registration pursuant to §
16915, is DENIED without prejudice to its reassertion in the appropriate court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 11th day of September, 2017.
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