United States v. Walker
Here, Walker’s procedural challenges all stem from his assertion that the district court
improperly calculated the Guidelines by assigning him a base offense level of 16, the level specified
for Tier III SORNA offenders. Walker does not challenge his conviction under SORNA, nor does
he dispute the factual premise that his 2000 North Carolina conviction qualifies him as a Tier III
offender under the relevant SORNA provisions. Instead, he seems to ground his three procedural
challenges on the assumption that North Carolina registration law trumps federal registration law.
That is, because North Carolina law only required him to register for ten years—even less than the
period for a Tier I offender under SORNA—the federal district court erred by using the offense level
of a Tier III offender at sentencing. In the process, Walker peppers his appellate brief with generic
references to “the government,” “officials,” and “the law” in an apparent effort to blur the line
between state and federal officials and the distinct sets of laws that they enforce. For the reasons that
follow, Walker’s arguments fail.
Walker first asserts that sentencing him as a Tier III offender violated his due process rights
because he “was not provided with proper notice regarding the effects of SORNA.” Walker
acknowledges that he “was aware of a duty to register . . . under state law,” which he concedes
suffices to establish notice for the purposes of his SORNA conviction. See, e.g., United States v.
Samuels, 319 F. App’x 389, 393 (6th Cir. 2009), (“Samuels’s prior knowledge of his duty to register
under state law qualified as effective notice under SORNA.”), overruled on other grounds by United
States v. Cain, 583 F.3d 408 (6th Cir. 2009). He argues, however, that because the government failed
to provide him “with information regarding the retroactive classification system under SORNA,” his