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Old 10-27-2019, 05:29 AM
waitinguntil001 waitinguntil001 is offline
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Default Recent-PA: SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA-SORNA II violates

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PA: Internet dissemination provision of SORNA II violates the federal prohibition against ex post facto laws


Link to decision



COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LEE ANDREW MOORE


Can someone please shed some light on this ruling to help us less "Legal Eagles" understand how this may (or will) affect the registration scheme now (or in the near future) for PA.



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Old 10-27-2019, 06:39 AM
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The ruling builds upon the watershed decision in Com. v. Muniz. In Muniz, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the requirements of SORNA (enacted 12/20/2012) were punitive and therefore count not be applied retroactively to those whose sexual offenses were before that date. To do so would violate both the US and PA constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws.

In response, the legislature enacted SORNA II (Acts 10 and 29) which split registrants into two groups based on the same date of 12/20/2012. Those whose crimes were before that date are now subject to the lesser burdens of Subchapter I, which closely resembles Megan's Law II (from 2000). These individuals were re-classified by the State Police as either ten-year or lifetime registrants, and as a result thousands were immediately removed from the registry. All those whose crimes were after that date remained in the three-tier system of Subchapter H. (I am attaching a chart which lists the offenses and categories.)

Building on Muniz, the Superior Court has been applying the punitive effect holding in other cases. Last week, in Com. v. Lee Moore, they applied it to "widespread Internet publication" of the registrant's information. They held that it publishes the information to many who do not have a need to know, meaning someone in another country has access to it. This violates the Pennsylvania Constitution's right to reputation and also is a form of punishment, so it can't be applied retroactively through Subchapter I. (They implied without saying that limited publication via the Internet could be constitutional.) The decision marks a new level of understanding how being on the registry is a form of punishment. It will certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

For now, the decision applies only to Moore. The State Police will wait to see if it's appealed and then if a stay is issued while such an appeal is pending. This is what happened as Muniz worked his way up to the Supreme Court. A stay would mean the Superior Court's decision doesn't become law until the Supreme Court rules. This is actually preferable, because prematurely removing thousands from the registry could mean putting them all back on it a few months later and the mass confusion would surely cause legal problems for many. (Assuming, of course, that a person would rather patiently wait to be removed from the registry rather than land in jail for violating it.)

Also of note are several other cases before the Supreme Court on this same topic. Com. v. Butler was argued on October 16th. It challenges the SVP process in the wake of Muniz. At least four more cases are scheduled for consolidated oral arguments on November 20th. Com. v. LaCombe will ask the Supreme Court to make Muniz cognizable in post-conviction proceedings (creating an exception to the one-year time bar and opening the door to those whose cases were final decades ago.) Com. v. Torsilieri challenges Subchapter I as punitive and therefore unconstitutional. Com. v. Witmayer is being brought by a recidivist.

We should have some of these decisions in January.
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File Type: pdf New SORNA offense list.pdf (594.7 KB, 3 views)
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:02 AM
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I don't know if it's because of the browser I'm using (Chrome) but the link only opens if I select "open link in a new tab".
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:13 AM
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Thank you bobble60 your information is "Priceless" as usual. Very much appreciated. You have made it easier to understand - thank you!




Quote:
...A stay would mean the Superior Court's decision doesn't become law until the Supreme Court rules. This is actually preferable, because prematurely removing thousands from the registry could mean putting them all back on it a few months later and the mass confusion would surely cause legal problems for many. (Assuming, of course, that a person would rather patiently wait to be removed from the registry rather than land in jail for violating it.)...
Yes bobble60 I agree with the part you mention above. Reasoning on this in part that even with the previous ruling (New ACT 10) it was confusing to me (my conviction prior to Dec 2012) as I was not sure what I had to report as updated information. I always had to call Harrisburg Megan's Section to double check. The site said that "we" (prior Dec 2012) would be notified by the SPS of our new reporting requirements but we (I) never was/were; assuming it was to be in writing from the SPS.


It seems odd that the parts (scars, vehicle info, etc) which we no longer have to update are still present on SPS's Megan's site. I would have thought it would be removed since updating this information was no longer required.
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:08 AM
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I think the process was still in transition when the latest round of ruling came down. I picture the website people at PSP pulling their hair out.
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