State v. Drupals
For the change of address reporting requirements in Connecticut General Statutes §54-251, concerning the sex offender registry, the term "residence" means the act of living in a given place for some time, and it does not apply to temporary stays. Following a court trial, Ernest Drupals was convicted of two counts of failing to comply with the sex offender registry requirements of C.G.S. §54-251. Drupals appealed challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his convictions. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment and remanded the matter with direction. To evaluate Drupals' claim of insufficient evidence that he failed to give notice of his change of residence without undue delay, the Court considered the undefined terms "residence" and "without undue delay" in C.G.S. §54-251. Given dictionary definitions and precedent from other contexts, residence was found to mean the act or fact of living in a given place for some time. It does not include temporary stays. The common usage of the term "undue delay" indicates an unwarranted or excessive postponement. With no extenuating circumstances, as here, based on the common usage of the terms and related statutory language, a registrant is obliged to notify the unit of a reportable event, such as a change of residence, on the next business day. A violation of C.G.S. §54-251(a) does not subject a registrant to criminal penalty. Under C.G.S. §54-251(e), a registrant will be guilty of a class D felony only by failing to notify the registry within five business days of the obligation to do so. Therefore, for the first count, the trial court found that Drupals resided in Stamford until Dec. 28, 2007, traveled to Maryland and took up residence there by Jan. 4, 2008. He notified the registry of his move from Stamford without undue delay, on Dec. 28, and notified the registry of his Maryland residence without undue delay, indeed, before residing there. He was not required by C.G.S. §54-251 to notify the registry of his temporary residence while traveling. Consequently, insufficient evidence existed to convict Drupals on count one. For count two, the trial court found that Drupals moved back to Connecticut on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. He notified the unit less than five full business days later on Jan. 31, 2008, avoiding criminal liability under C.G.S. §54-251(e).