Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Randolph County The Honorable
Cynthia A. Suter, Judge
Before: Gary D. Witt, P. J., Alok Ahuja and Edward R. Ardini,
Jenette Wilkerson pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct
involving a child in 2010. In 2015, she filed a petition in
the Circuit Court of Randolph County, seeking to be removed
from the State's sex-offender registry. The circuit court
granted Wilkerson relief. The State appeals, arguing that
Wilkerson was obligated to register as a sex offender under
federal law, and therefore was not entitled to be removed
from the State registry. We reverse.
February 2010, Wilkerson engaged in consensual sexual
intercourse with a thirteen-year-old boy. She was eighteen
years old at the time. Wilkerson was initially charged with
statutory rape; however, as part of a plea agreement, the
State amended the charge to the class D felony of sexual
misconduct involving a child in violation of § 566.083,
RSMo Cum. Supp. 2009. Wilkerson pleaded guilty on August 24,
2010, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
Since her release, Wilkerson has registered as a sex offender
with the Missouri sex-offender registry.
October 22, 2015, Wilkerson filed a petition in the circuit
court pursuant to §§ 589.400.8 and .9,
seeking to be released from sex-offender registration
requirements. In her petition, Wilkerson admitted that she
"engag[ed] in sexual misconduct with a minor age
thirteen (13) years of age." Her petition alleged that
she was eighteen years old at the time of the offense; that
the incident did not involve any force or threat of force;
and that there was no evidence the victim suffered any
physical or emotional harm. Wilkerson's petition alleged
that she had complied with the sex-offender registration
requirements; had no subsequent arrests or incidents
involving sexual offenses; had been consistently employed;
and did not present a danger to others.
circuit court held an evidentiary hearing on Wilkerson's
petition. During her testimony, Wilkerson admitted that in
February 2010 she engaged in consensual sexual intercourse
with a thirteen-year-old boy when she was eighteen years of
State argued that Wilkerson qualified as a "sex
offender" under the federal Sex Offender Registration
and Notification Act, 34 U.S.C. § 20911 et seq.
("SORNA"), and was accordingly subject to an
independent federal obligation to register. Because she was
subject to SORNAs registration requirements, the State argued
that Wilkerson was not entitled to removal from the Missouri
14, 2016, the circuit court entered judgment for Wilkerson,
ordering that she be "removed from the Missouri sexual
offender registration requirements of § 589.400.1."
The judgment found that "[m]ore than two years have
elapsed since the time [Wilkerson] was ordered to
register"; that Wilkerson was eighteen at the time of
the offense, and her victim was thirteen; that "[t]here
was no threat of force, coercion or use of physical force or
a weapon during any encounter and the victim showed no
evidence of physical or emotional harm from the events";
and that Wilkerson "has observed the rules and
guidelines set forth in the Sex Offender Supervision
Agreement, and is and has been in compliance with all
provisions thereof." The judgment explicitly stated that
"[t]he Court makes no finding if [Wilkerson] is required
to register on the Federal Sexual Offender Registry."
judgment of the trial court will be upheld on appeal, unless
"it is not supported by substantial evidence, is against
the weight of the evidence, or erroneously declares or
applies the law." Doe v. Isom, 429 S.W.3d 436,
439 (Mo. App. E.D. 2014) (citing Murphy v. Carron,
536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976)).
State argues that Wilkerson was not entitled to be removed
from the Missouri sex offender registry because she was
subject to an independent duty to register as a sex ...