In the Interest of Justin B., a Juvenile under the Age of Seventeen, Appellant. Appellate Case No. 2015-000992
February 9, 2017
from Spartanburg County Phillip K. Sinclair, Family Court
Brandt Rucker, of The Rucker Law Firm, L.L.C., of Greenville,
Attorney General Alan Wilson, Assistant Attorney General
William M. Blitch Jr., both of Columbia; and Solicitor Barry
J. Barnette, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.
B., a minor, was found delinquent for committing criminal
sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree. The family
court imposed the mandatory, statutory requirement that he
register as a sex offender and wear an electronic monitor,
both for life. Justin B. claims the mandatory imposition of
lifetime registration and electronic monitoring on juveniles
is unconstitutional. We affirm the family court.
Facts and Procedural History
April 2013, Justin B. was charged with criminal sexual
conduct with a minor in the first degree under subsection
16-3-655(A)(1) of the South Carolina Code (2015). Justin B.
was fifteen years old, and his victim was five. The family
court conducted a hearing in January 2015. The State called
the detective from the Spartanburg County Sheriff's
Office who investigated the sexual assault complaint. The
detective testified she met with Justin B. to discuss the
allegations against him, and that he admitted to sexually
assaulting the victim. Specifically, Justin B. admitted to
putting his penis in the victim's mouth, putting the
victim's penis in his mouth, and attempting to put his
penis in the victim's anus.
victim and his mother also testified. The victim-seven years
old at the time of the hearing-testified Justin B. sexually
assaulted him on several occasions in the manner described by
the detective. The victim's mother testified that a
friend called to report that the victim was caught showing
the friend's son a "game" that involved sexual
acts. She asked the victim about it and he told her Justin B.
showed him this "game." The victim's mother
then contacted the police.
court found Justin B. committed criminal sexual conduct with
a minor in the first degree, and declared him delinquent. The
court imposed the mandatory, statutory requirement that
Justin B. register as a sex offender and wear an electronic
monitor for the remainder of his life. Justin B. objected to
mandatory lifetime registration for juveniles on the grounds
it is unconstitutional. The court overruled the objection,
stating this Court had already ruled on the issue. Justin B.
appealed the family court's decision. The State then
moved to certify the case for our review under Rule 204(b) of
the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules, and we granted the
Sex Offender Registry
1994, the Legislature enacted the South Carolina Sex Offender
Registry Act. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 23-3-400 to -555
(2007 & Supp. 2016). The Act created the sex offender
registry, which is maintained "under the direction of
the Chief of the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED)."
§ 23-3-410(A) (2007). The purpose of the registry is set
forth in section 23-3-400 (Supp. 2016), which provides,
The intent of this article is to promote the state's
fundamental right to provide for the public health, welfare,
and safety of its citizens.
. . . .
The sex offender registry will provide law enforcement with
the tools needed in investigating criminal offenses.
Statistics show that sex offenders often pose a high risk of
re-offending. Additionally, law enforcement's efforts to
protect communities, conduct investigations, and apprehend
offenders who commit sex offenses are impaired by the lack of