Case: Whitaker v. Perdue

4:06-cv-00140 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Filed Date: June 20, 2006

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 20, 2006, six low-level sex offenders filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against the state of Georgia. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights and the ACLU of Georgia, challenged provisions of the state's new sex offender law that prevented sex offenders from living and working within one-thousand feet of school bus stops and churches. The plaintiffs had committed their crimes when they were young …

On June 20, 2006, six low-level sex offenders filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against the state of Georgia. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights and the ACLU of Georgia, challenged provisions of the state's new sex offender law that prevented sex offenders from living and working within one-thousand feet of school bus stops and churches. The plaintiffs had committed their crimes when they were young (often statutory / consensual sex acts with a person a few years younger), and argued that the Georgia law violated their rights because it did not distinguish between low-level and high-level sex offenders, nor did it allow them to seek an exemption. They further alleged that the law automatically exposed persons to felony prosecution and forced nearly all sex offenders out of their homes, and that it would also undercut church efforts to reform sex offenders.

On June 27, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper granted a restraining order against the enforcement of the bus stop portion of the law and scheduled further hearings. The court's discussion focused on whether or not "bus stops," as defined in the statute, meant places where school buses actually stopped to pick up schoolchildren, or places formally designated as bus stops by the relevant school board. The court ruled that "bus stops" must be designated, and since no school board had yet designated any bus stops, the court denied the Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

On June 29, 2006, the Judge Cooper certified a plaintiff class of all persons who registered with the State of Georgia as sex offenders on or before July 1, 2006 and who reside within 1000 feet of a currently-designated school bus stop or a school bus stop designated in the future.

Following the issuance of the TRO (temporary restraining order), three counties designated their "bus stops" to remove the ambiguity, and then entered into consent orders that barred enforcement of the law until further order of the court. The plaintiffs then filed another motion for preliminary injunction challenging the residency restrictions barring a home within one-thousand feet of a church. This was filed on behalf of nine elderly and sick sex offenders who mostly live in nursing homes. Each of the affected counties allowed these sex offenders to remain in their nursing homes.

The District Court permitted the key portions of the plaintiffs' case to move forward, including challenges based on the following constitutional provisions: (1) Article 1, § 10 of the Georgia Constitution, which provides that states cannot pass laws that increase punishments for criminal acts after they have been committed ; (2) the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects certain fundamental rights from being infringed upon; and (3) the Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution, which protects religious beliefs and religious practices.

On October 14, 2008 the plaintiffs filled their 4th amended complaint. The plaintiffs made clear that the most significant part of their challenge to the law involved the school bus stop provisions.

Prompted by some changes to the law, in March 2009, the Court decertified the previously defined class and certified several new subclasses, including all persons who are registered, are required to register, or will be required to register in the future as sex offenders pursuant to § 42-1-15 who (1) reside in counties in which the school board has designated school bus stops for purposes of § 42-1-15 and (2) either do not own their own homes or do not fall within the homeowner exemption of § 42-1-15(f) or (g), as determined by the sheriff in the county where such persons are registered. The 2009 order found that one of the plaintiffs had standing to represent this subclass because she was leasing a residence that fell within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop in Columbia County.

Within the same March 2009 order, the District Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction restraining the defendants from enforcing the sex offender law's provision that barred registered sex offenders from engaging in volunteer activities at church. The district court found that "because the Church Volunteer/Employment Provision fails to provide fair warning to Plaintiffs or adequate guidance to law enforcement, it is substantially likely that it is unduly and unconstitutionally vague." Lastly, the District Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' takings claim on behalf of renters affected by the sex offender law.

In September 2010, the Court approved the plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of several claims. But the school bus stop claim based on substantive due process and vagueness remained. Then, in March 2011, the Court allowed the Plaintiffs to substitute new named plaintiffs. However, the counties in which the plaintiffs lived rescinded the bus stop designations. Accordingly, on September 30, 2013, the District Court dismissed what was left of the case, finding no remaining plaintiffs with standing to bring it. This case is closed.

Summary Authors

Justin Benson (3/3/2012)

Saeeda Joseph-Charles (11/14/2016)

Related Cases

Mann v. Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia state trial court (2003)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/36207441/parties/smiley-v-perdue/


Judge(s)

Cooper, Clarence (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bright, Stephen B. (Georgia)

Garrett, Margaret Fletcher (Georgia)

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Kung, Lisa L. (Georgia)

Littrell, Elizabeth Lynn (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baker, Kay Denise (Georgia)

Blalock, William H. (Georgia)

Brantley, Overtis Hicks (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Cooper, Clarence (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bright, Stephen B. (Georgia)

Garrett, Margaret Fletcher (Georgia)

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Kung, Lisa L. (Georgia)

Littrell, Elizabeth Lynn (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baker, Kay Denise (Georgia)

Blalock, William H. (Georgia)

Brantley, Overtis Hicks (Georgia)

Conner, Jerry Ann (Georgia)

Drolet, Joseph J (Georgia)

Hudson, David (Arkansas)

Hutchinson, Martha Suzanne (Georgia)

Lee, Nathan Thomas (Georgia)

McDonald, Nikisha L. (Georgia)

Nkumeh, Nwakaego Ijeoma (Georgia)

Okparaeke, Nwakaego Ijeoma (Georgia)

Olens, Samuel (Georgia)

Orland, Devon (Georgia)

Pacious, Kathleen Mary (Georgia)

Patty, Clifton M Jr. (Georgia)

Ranck, Brian C (Georgia)

Skipper, James M. Jr. (Georgia)

Smith, Suzanne H. (Georgia)

Westmoreland, Mary Beth (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Smiley v. Perdue

Sept. 30, 2013 Docket
1

Complaint - Class Action for Injunctive Relief

June 20, 2006 Complaint
7

Brief in Support of Motion for A Preliminary Injunction

June 21, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief
16

Order [Granting TRO]

June 27, 2006 Order/Opinion
36

First Amended Complaint

July 7, 2006 Complaint
44

Proposed Order Denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

July 19, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief
59

Second Amended Complaint

July 26, 2006 Complaint
67

Consent Order

July 28, 2006 Order/Opinion
115

Third Amended Complaint

June 1, 2007 Complaint
186-1

Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction to Stop the State of Georgia from Criminalizing Protected Religious Activity

June 24, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/36207441/smiley-v-perdue/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint

June 20, 2006 PACER
2

Summons Issued

June 20, 2006 PACER
3

Summons Issued

June 20, 2006 PACER
4

Summons Issued

June 20, 2006 PACER
5

Summons Issued

June 20, 2006 PACER
6

Order of Recusal

June 20, 2006 PACER

Remark

June 21, 2006 PACER
7

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

June 21, 2006 PACER
8

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

June 22, 2006 PACER
9

Motion for TRO

June 22, 2006 PACER
10

Certificate of Service

June 23, 2006 PACER
11

Notice of Appearance

June 23, 2006 PACER
12

Notice (Other)

June 26, 2006 PACER
13

Notice of Appearance

June 26, 2006 PACER
14

Notice of Appearance

June 26, 2006 PACER
15

Motion to Certify Class

June 26, 2006 PACER
20

Motion Hearing

June 26, 2006 PACER

Set Motion and R&R Deadlines/Hearings

June 27, 2006 PACER
16

Order on Motion for TRO

June 27, 2006 PACER
17

Notice of Appearance

June 28, 2006 PACER
18

Response to Motion

June 28, 2006 PACER
19

Reply to Response to Motion

June 29, 2006 PACER
21

Order on Motion to Certify Class

June 29, 2006 PACER
22

Motion to Stay

June 30, 2006 PACER
23

Motion for Leave to File

June 30, 2006 PACER
24

Order on Motion to Stay

June 30, 2006 PACER
25

Motion to Stay

June 30, 2006 PACER
26

Notice of Appeal

June 30, 2006 PACER
27

Transmission of Notice of Appeal and Docket Sheet to USCA

June 30, 2006 PACER
28

Order on Motion to Stay

June 30, 2006 PACER
29

Notice of E-filing Requirement

July 5, 2006 PACER

Notification of Docket Correction

July 7, 2006 PACER
30

Response to Motion

July 7, 2006 PACER
31

Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

July 7, 2006 PACER
32

Motion to Dismiss

July 7, 2006 PACER
33

Response in Support of Motion

July 7, 2006 PACER
34

Motion to Dismiss

July 7, 2006 PACER
35

Response (Non-Motion)

July 7, 2006 PACER
36

Amended Complaint

July 7, 2006 PACER
39

Transcript

July 7, 2006 PACER
50

Order on Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

July 7, 2006 PACER
37

Notice of Filing

July 11, 2006 PACER
38

Order

July 11, 2006 PACER
51

Order

July 11, 2006 PACER
52

Motion Hearing

July 11, 2006 PACER

Submission to District Judge

July 12, 2006 PACER
53

Motion Hearing

July 12, 2006 PACER
40

Response (Non-Motion)

July 17, 2006 PACER
41

Response (Non-Motion)

July 17, 2006 PACER

Submission to District Judge

July 19, 2006 PACER
42

Transcript

July 19, 2006 PACER
43

Transcript

July 19, 2006 PACER
44

Proposed Order

July 19, 2006 PACER
45

Proposed Order

July 19, 2006 PACER
46

Motion to Certify Class

July 20, 2006 PACER
47

USCA Acknowledgment

July 20, 2006 PACER
48

Proposed Order

July 20, 2006 PACER
49

Proposed Consent Order

July 24, 2006 PACER

Submission to District Judge

July 25, 2006 PACER
54

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

July 25, 2006 PACER
55

Motion to Dismiss

July 25, 2006 PACER
56

Order

July 25, 2006 PACER
57

Transcript Order Form

July 25, 2006 PACER
70

Court Reporter Acknowledgment

July 25, 2006 PACER
58

Motion for TRO

July 26, 2006 PACER
59

Motion to Amend

July 26, 2006 PACER
60

Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

July 26, 2006 PACER
61

Order on Motion to Amend

July 27, 2006 PACER
62

Response to Motion

July 27, 2006 PACER
63

Notice of Filing

July 27, 2006 PACER
64

Order on Motion for TRO

July 28, 2006 PACER
65

Order on Motion to Certify Class

July 28, 2006 PACER
66

Proposed Consent Order

July 28, 2006 PACER
67

Order

July 28, 2006 PACER
68

Evidentiary Hearing

July 28, 2006 PACER
69

Notice of Filing

July 31, 2006 PACER
71

USCA Order

July 31, 2006 PACER
77

Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

Aug. 1, 2006 PACER
72

Motion to Certify Class

Aug. 2, 2006 PACER
73

Proposed Consent Order

Aug. 2, 2006 PACER
74

Return of Service Executed

Aug. 3, 2006 PACER
75

Amended Complaint

Aug. 3, 2006 PACER
76

Joint Preliminary Report and Discovery Plan

Aug. 3, 2006 PACER
83

Order

Aug. 3, 2006 PACER
78

Motion to Dismiss

Aug. 10, 2006 PACER
79

Motion for TRO

Aug. 14, 2006 PACER
80

Response to Motion

Aug. 14, 2006 PACER
81

Motion to Amend

Aug. 15, 2006 PACER
82

Proposed Consent Order

Aug. 15, 2006 PACER

Submission to District Judge

Aug. 16, 2006 PACER
84

Response in Opposition to Motion

Aug. 16, 2006 PACER
85

Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer

Aug. 16, 2006 PACER
86

Response to Motion

Aug. 17, 2006 PACER
87

Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Aug. 17, 2006 PACER
88

Response in Opposition to Motion

Aug. 17, 2006 PACER

Submission to District Judge

Aug. 18, 2006 PACER
89

Certificate of Service

Aug. 18, 2006 PACER
90

Notice of Appearance

Aug. 18, 2006 PACER
92

Order on Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

Aug. 21, 2006 PACER
93

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

Aug. 21, 2006 PACER

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 20, 2006

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All persons who registered with the State of Georgia as sex offenders on or before July 1, 2006 and who reside within 1000 feet of a currently-designated school bus stop or a school bus stop designated in the future

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

State of Georgia, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Ex Post Facto

Freedom of speech/association

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Sex offender regulation