The 4th Circuit, on a narrow point, overturned failure-to-register convictions for four Virginia sex offenders.
The ruling was based on a timing issue and did not reach deeper questions about the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, reports The Roanoke Times.
The four men moved to Virginia before the regulations implementing the registration law were issued in February 2007.
“They cannot be prosecuted for conduct that was not criminal at the time it was committed,” the 4th Circuit’s opinion said.
The original convictions for various sex offenses were not affected by the decision.