STATE v. ERNEST M. DRUPALS, SC 18697
Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk
Criminal; Sex Offender Registration; Whether Temporary Overnight Stay Constitutes a Change of Address Requiring Notification to Sex Offender Registration Unit; Whether Conviction for Failure to Register as Sex Offender Should be Overturned Because General Statutes § 54-251 is Unconstitutionally Vague as Applied in this Case; Whether Evidence was Sufficient to Support Conviction. In 2002, pursuant to General Statutes § 54-251 (a), the defendant was ordered to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years. Section 54-251 (a) requires that registrants register their "residence address," and it provides that if a registrant changes his address, "such person shall, without undue delay, notify the Commissioner of Public Safety in writing of the new address. . . ." In late December 2007, the defendant notified the sex offender registration unit that he had moved from his Stamford address to an address in Maryland. In late January 2008, the defendant relocated to his mother's house in Greenwich. Subsequently, in February 2008, the state charged the defendant with violating the registration requirements by failing to notify the unit of his changes of residence both at the end of December 2007 and during the middle of January 2008. The state took the position that the defendant never resided in Maryland during that period and that he arrived in Connecticut on multiple days and never informed the unit. Relying on State v. Winer, 112 Conn. App. 458, cert. denied, 292 Conn. 903 (2009), in which the court construed the term "residence" in § 54-251 (a) as "wherever the defendant was dwelling, no matter how temporary a situation," the trial court found that the defendant did not keep the unit accurately informed of where he was living during that period. In this appeal from his conviction of two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, the defendant claims that § 54-251, as applied in this case, in unconstitutionally vague because the statute does not provide fair warning that a temporary overnight stay constitutes a change of residence address requiring notice to the unit. The defendant also contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove his guilt. Specifically, he asserts that he notified the unit of his changes in his residence address from Stamford to Maryland and from Maryland to Greenwich without undue delay, and that his three temporary stays at his mother’s Greenwich house in December and January did not constitute changes of residence address requiring notification. He argues that the trial court improperly relied on State v. Winer, which, he contends, should be limited to homeless registrants. The defendant further asserts that if that decision is deemed applicable to all registrants, then it should be overruled.