United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
W. PHILLIPS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
William E. Haslam (“Governor Haslam”) and Mark
Gwyn (“Director Gwyn”) have filed a motion to
dismiss the claims against them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) [Doc 8]. Having carefully considered the motion,
supporting memorandum [Doc. 9] and plaintiff's response
[Doc. 11], the motion is ripe for determination.
Relevant Facts 
John Doe is a Tennessee resident who brings this action to
challenge the constitutionality of a 2014 Amendment to the
Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender
Registration, Verification and Tracking Act of 2004, Tenn.
Code Ann. §§ 40-39-201-218 (2015 Supp.),
(hereinafter “the Act”). Governor Haslam is the
Governor of the State of Tennessee and is sued in his
official capacity [Doc. 1 at ¶ 2]. The Governor is
responsible for enforcement of the laws of the State of
Tennessee and the supervision of all State departments,
including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
(“TBI”) [Id. at ¶ 20]. Director
Gwyn is the Director of the TBI and is sued in his official
capacity [Id. at ¶ 3]. The TBI is responsible
for maintaining Tennessee's Sex Offender Registry and
enforcing the Act [Id. at ¶ 21]. The TBI
maintains the state's database of sex offenders,
maintains an internet-accessible public sex offender
registry, registers offenders, develops registration forms,
provides statutorily-required notices for registrants,
collects registration fees, and coordinates with national law
enforcement and the national sex offender registry
he was a resident of the State of North Carolina, on August
15, 2006, plaintiff pled guilty to the charge of Indecent
Liberties with a Child, in violation of North Carolina
Statute 14-202.1 [Id. at ¶¶ 8-9]. The
victim was described as eleven (11) years old [Id.].
Plaintiff asserts that, after spending almost a year in
custody, he agreed to the plea “based on a sentencing
range of 10-12 months, and the representation that he would
be placed on the Sex Offender Registry for a period ten (10)
years” [Id. at ¶ 11]. After his release
from custody, plaintiff registered as a sex offender on the
North Carolina Sex Offender Registry on August 31, 2006
[Id. at ¶¶ 11-12].
2007, plaintiff moved to Tennessee, where he registered as a
sex offender and he has reported annually as required
[Id. at ¶ 13]. Upon the ten (10) year
anniversary of his Case 3:17-cv-00217-TWP-HBG Document 18
Filed 10/23/17 Page 2 of 14 PageID #: 90 release from custody
in North Carolina, plaintiff contacted the TBI and requested
to be removed from the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry
[Id. at ¶ 16]. The TBI informed plaintiff that
it needed additional information to consider his request in
light of a 2014 Amendment to the Act, which requires a
registered sex offender to remain on the registry for life if
the offense involved a victim twelve (12) years of age or
younger [Id. at ¶ 17]. Plaintiff's counsel
provided the requested information to the TBI and again
requested that plaintiff be removed from the registry
[Id. at ¶ 18]. The TBI refused plaintiff's
request, citing the 2014 Amendment [Id. at ¶
first adopted a sex offender registration law in 1994
[Id. at ¶ 22]. The 1994 law was repealed and
replaced in 2004 [Id. at ¶ 23]. Among the
changes included in the 2004 revision, the Act classifies
registrants as “sexual offenders” or
“violent sexual offenders, ” with violent sexual
offenders required to register for life [Id.].
Registrants designated as sexual offenders must report
annually, within seven (7) days of their date of birth to
verify their registration information, and update
fingerprints, palm prints, and photographs [Id.].
Registrants who are not subject to the lifetime registration
requirement must apply to the TBI for removal from the
registry, rather than petition a court [Id.]. Any
violation of the Act is punishable as a felony, rather than
as a misdemeanor [Id.].
has been amended several times since 2004, including the 2014
Amendment of which plaintiff complains [Id.].
Specifically, Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-207 states as
(g)(1) An offender required to register under this part shall
continue to comply with the registration, verification and
tracking requirements for the life of that offender, if that
(C) Has been convicted of an offense in which the victim was
a child of twelve (12) years of age or less.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-207(g)(1)(C) [Doc. 1 at ¶
24]. Thus, prior to this Amendment and at the time of his
plea, plaintiff was only subject to the 10-year requirement
to remain on the registry [Id. at ¶ 25]. In
addition to the numerous requirements imposed on those who
are registered, plaintiff claims he “lost a good,
well-paying job when it was discovered that he was on the
registry after the 10-year period” had expired
[Id. at ¶¶ 26-27].
asserts that the 2014 Amendment to the Act violates the Ex
Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution and the
Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States
Constitution [Id. at ¶¶ 29, 31-34].
Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief [Doc. 1 at
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) sets out a liberal pleading
standard, Smith v. City of Salem, 378 F.3d 566, 576
n.1 (6th Cir. 2004), requiring only “‘a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give the
[opposing party] fair notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests, '” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Detailed
factual allegations are not required, but a party's
“obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.