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PA: Cumberland County DA Freed to request U.S. Supreme Court review of sex offender decision

Roughly two weeks ago the Pennsylvania Supreme Court deemed the state’s current sex offender registration law to be punishment and ultimately barred by both the state and federal constitutions when applied retroactively.

That decision may now end up under review from the highest court in the country.

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said Friday his office would ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review the decision, which was handed down on July 19. Full Article

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  1. Who removes from list

    http://cases.justia.com/pennsylvania/superior-court/2017-2191-eda-2016-0.pdf?ts=1507140749

    COMMONWEALTH V WILLIAMS THIS IS THE CASE THAT WAS HIGHLY NOTED DURING THE APPEAL PROCESS OF MUNIZ, REED, GILBERT!

    THANK GOD FOR GETTING THIS RIGHT!

    MY HUSBAND WANTS YOU ALL TO KNOW, TRUST IN GOD AND WE ALL WILL PREVAIL!

    • Paul 2

      AJ did you see this from the Williams case?

      , the OAJC found that SORNA violates the Ex Post Facto Clauses under both the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions. Justice Wecht’s Concurring Opinion, joined by Justice Todd, found that SORNA violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and declined to consider whether SORNA violates the United States Constitution.

      !!(Thus, the binding precedent arising out of Muniz is limited to the finding that SORNA’s registration requirements violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution )!!

      • AJ

        @Paul 2:
        Yeah, I read that footnote. I found it interesting that in PA (and probably elsewhere), a plurality opinion is non-binding. But so what. So the US violation is non-binding. You still have the PA part that is. So again, Mr. Freed is going to find he’s got bupkus for an argument.

        I’m guessing the Dem. senators on the Judiciary Committee will poke him with it. Those in CA, VT, IL, RI, MN, DE, CT, and HI could always contact the Senator (or in MN’s case, both Senators) of theirs on the Committee and point out this fact. It’d be a nice way to help out fellow RCs in PA.

  2. David

    That depends upon your conviction date. If your conviction date was prior to the enactment of the law requiring registration (i.e., prior to 2011), then you are not required to register. That’s where ex post facto comes in: you had already been convicted, they cannot heap on more punishment (i.e., registration) afterwards.
    *Obviously, consult with a lawyer for legal advice. (I am not a lawyer.)

  3. Who removes from list

    Yes, anyone convicted prior to Sorna and who was not to register under Sorna per Muniz Decision is effected by this Williams Decision for failure to register convictions that are illegal due to Muniz.

    • Jim

      So- is it anyone who was convicted prior to December, 2012 that are due relief via Muniz – or is it those that were convicted prior to December, 2011 (when the law was enacted?)

      What if a person pled guilty to a non Sorna offense in May, 2011 – did not have to register at that time – then was blindsided by Sorna in December 2012 while on probation for what Sorna now deems a “violent sexual
      offense”?

      I was under the impression that anyone who either had to register in December, 2012 (when they previously did not have to) or who had their 10 year registrations increased by Sorna 12/20/2012 were due relief from Muniz??

      • Who removes from list

        Your crime had to be committed whether it was the act of the crime or conviction to the crime prior to Dec 20 2012.

        If you were convicted in 2011, and were forced to be on SORNA, whether you were on old megans law, not on megans law, never had to register before or had requirements added after Dec 20 2012, you are due relief.

        @Jim you are do relief because you never had to register pre sorna but were forced under SORNA. Call an attorney!

  4. Who removes from list

    My husband wanted to confirm what AJ stated about the state ruling back in July 2017 of Muniz.

    In Commonwealth v Williams they state this,

    “Thus, the binding precedent arising out of Muniz is LIMITED to the finding that SORNA’s registration requirements violate the ex post facto clause of THE PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION. ”

    Our Us Justice in our District only had the power to stay the federal ruling.

    The state ruling is still binding!

    • AJ

      @WRFL:
      “The state ruling is still binding!”

      Let’s all say it together: “Calder v Bull.” 😀

  5. Who removes from list

    What it means, Paul is the courts agree with defendants whether or not the, Da Freed was granted a stay on Muniz the courts still have to honor the state constution violation under Muniz. The Federal Ruling of Muniz is stayed pending appeal, but not the state ruling.

    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/judgment%20order%20-%20vacated-remanded%20-%2010322271522995966.pdf

    • Paul 2

      Please read the note 3 in Williams Also if the entire record is stayed how can a court use it right now the two cases that received relief were filed before the stay. I think we have to wait for the stay to be lifted Unless someone shows me a case or someone charged after the stay that received relief I will believe it I will not report or update my reg. I think the PA ex post will go back into effect after stay then PSP will have to act.

    • Paul 2

      I’m saying there is no federal or state ruling because the entire record is stayed until the USSC decides what to do if Freed or AG has indeed filed a motion on Muniz. I think the courts still have only given relief to those cases that were in the court before the stay. However it looks like PSP is starting the ball in motion I hope we get some more info from Michael or someone else. I realize the state decision is good but I think it is stayed until USSC decides. The two cases you mentioned were already in the court before the stay therefore enjoyed the benefit of the laps. Just my opinion.

      • AJ

        As of Thursday evening (10/12/17), no docket for Muniz on SCOTUS…. I wonder if PSP is starting to act because they’ve received some direction that’s not public. Perhaps post-Snyder, they saw the writing on the wall.

  6. Who removes from list

    Paul 2 – repost what you wrote I cant read this to my husband. Its all up and down!

  7. Who removes from list

    Anyone hear this too that the Commonwealth of Pa filed its appeal on the Muniz Decision?

    Word has it that they filed and are waiting to see if US Supreme Court will grant or deny there appeal like Snyder v Doe in Michigan?

    Please let me know who to look it up.

  8. TXSO4life

    Baller vs. Bullshit! 😀

  9. Michael

    I had a couple of detectives show up at my house yesterday saying I had failed to register after having moved back to PA in July, and had 3 days to contact a detective on the notice they left or I’d be arrested. I went off on them because, based on the law and decisions in cases like Tommy Lee Jackson v Commonwealth, I knew that that I did not have to register in PA and told them to bugger off and that I had not intention of registering. I called Joseph Ratasiewicz of Casamento & Ratasiewicz because he handled the Jackson case successfully and I figured I’d need to have him file a Writ of Mandamus. Today I tried calling the detective on the notice and couldn’t reach her, so for shits and giggles I called PSP’s Meghans law unit and was told I in fact did not have to register, that they had finished my file yesterday and had already mailed out a notice. She gave me the impression that mine was not the only file she was going through. I don’t know that this is related to Muniz, but if it is, they are already up to last names starting with “D.”

    Just an FYI. Casamento & Ratasiewicz apparently charges $4500 to get ya off the list. Apparently they are having a good run because Joseph Ratasiewicz said they got a guy in Pittsburgh who moved here from NY off the list last week.

    ….

    • Paul 2

      Hell yah bother Thanks for the post. What makes you say they are going in alphabetical order? also please give more details if you have and what the letter says thanks.

      • Michael

        “What makes you say they are going in alphabetical order?”

        Don’t know that they are doing anything, but if I were to be doing it, alphabetically would be the way I’d go at it.

        “also please give more details if you have and what the letter says thanks.”

        Are referring to the Meghans law compliance notice I received, or the letter that says I don’t have to register? The letter regarding not having to register probably won’t be her until tomorrow or Sat.

        ….

        • Paul 2

          Thanks. Yes, the letter that you will be getting, just curious what they say.

  10. who removes from list

    My husband went to see his attorney yesterday, the Commonwealth v Williams case, is a home run case for anyone who is charged with SORNA Violations in the state of PA.

    In the Commonwealth v Williams case, the Superior admitted they needed to fix a July 18 2017 order due to the Muniz Decision coming out a day later on July 19 2017. The Superior Court, states “The Commonwealth and the Appealant both agree.”

    My attorney is saying that the Superior Court, agreed that they need to fix there wrong. They guided the defendant to file what is needed to get back in front of them to fix there wrong.

    They overturned a failure to register and failure to provide accurate information to the PSP which Williams was in prison for 8 to 19 years, or close to that. They overturned the sentence stating, Muniz applies to Williams and should of never been required to register under SORNA, per Muniz, PA ex post facto clause.

    Anyone with failure to register convictions, or charges. Take the Commonwealth v Williams to your attorney and have your case dismissed.

  11. Paul 2

    Check this one out looks to me like we do not have to comply with SORNA?
    http://www.lycolaw.org/Cases/opinions/2017/Smith111317L.pdf

    • Mike s

      That’s a very leaghthy and accurate analysis, something you rarely see out of the court of Common Pleas.

      Why is it that every Judge in the commonwealth at every level has agreed that Muniz is law but the PSP has decided that they are permitted to violate the civil rights of ~22k people in the commonwealth?

      Is it going to take a RC getting targeted and killed in PA who is on year 11 of a 10 year offense to get the ACLU or a lawyer in contingency to fight for a 7 figure judgement out of the PSP?

      • CR

        The PSP is either in denial, or they have incompetent lawyers, or they are knowingly defying the ruling in Muniz.

      • Paul 2

        I have to update soon. I’m thinking of calling PSP to see what they say. They are trying to say people should not get relief if MUNIZ can’t, judge said Muniz can get relief now if he wanted to so if PSP is made aware of this in writing and they still make people update then they are liable. I am going to call REEDS lawyer back to see what he says. I am hoping they are not waiting for a so called fix from the legislature because all they are going to do is pass another unconstitutional bill that we will have to fight all over again. I have $2500 to put into a pot for a class action or an injunction we need to team up on this before they pull some shite.

      • Who Removes from List

        Cumberland County Judges and DA’s dont treat Muniz as law!

    • CR

      Great find, Paul 2. Everyone who is interested in Muniz and whether or not it can be enforced, or whether there is a stay (there is not), should read this case. The judge explained the status of Muniz in great detail, and delivered a resounding rebuke to the Commonwealth of PA in the process.

    • AJ

      Reading this Opinion made me smile and chuckle. Clearly, the judge was not impressed by the Commonwealth’s arguments, and did a wonderful job of shredding them. I found it ironic that PA is all for individual assessment when it comes to bail (which, like ML, is not a punishment), yet balks whenever a RC raises that issue. It all reminds me of good old Bobo, from whatever PA county he represented before PASC. PA really needs to get some better DAs.

      • Paul 2

        LOL he thought the PASC justice was throwing him a curve ball he said but he really thought he was trying to help him thats why he changed what he said. He really thinks the justices were trying to sway things his way. Shows how crooked they are. I’m calling Reeds lawyer and Aaron Marcus tomorrow to see what they says about this case and if there is anything we can do as far as a class action or injunction against PSP, I wish I had the balls to take a no show on my update and sue there asses.

        I do know one thing we have to be careful at an update because they will try to get us on false info to police however I think they can only get you on it if they are doing an investigation and you lie or make a mistake.

      • Jim

        Dobo is at Clearfield county.
        As ridiculously moronic as he is- you should get a load of his boss (bill Shaw), the DA of Clearfield county…

        Dobo is a rocket scientist compared to Shaw.

  12. Who Removes from List

    My husband has reached out to his attorney. In his case the DA requested a 30 day brief to be filed to the court. Time runs out real soon and there brief would be a complete lie to the court. After reading this case there is no arguement the DA would be able to sell to the court. I will fill everyone in on my husband case by the end of the week. God Bless everyone!

  13. Paul 2

    New proposed bill NO. 1952 to fix SORNA was emailed to me can’t find link Anyone read it yet? Any info on what it means?

      • Paul 2

        I’m hoping someone can comment on pages 66,67 about two or more convictions. It is my understanding in A.S. and other cases the PASC has ruled that two or more convictions have to be separated by a time to reform, in other words If you plead guilty to a CP 10yr and a IA7 on the same day and convicted on the same day they can not combine to make a life registration. I am hoping this would apply to this new law also.

        I am also looking at the fact that they are saying this law applies to individuals that their time has not expired. My time would have expired if my IA7 was not increased to life. also them combining the two 10yr registrations.

        Hope AJ or someone can comment thanks

        • Mike s

          Paul,

          I noticed the same thing concerning 2 or more. I reached out to my attorney, who as A.S.’s attorney and he said that this has already been litagated and the PSP have acted on the exact phasing of the way it is written. He said he highly doubts that the PSP would reverse course on it.

          Looks like we are back to ML3. As far as I’m concerned, get this to Wolf desk ASAP.

          I’m just not sure what this new law is going to accomplish? Anyone that was 10 Year from 2007 and before will be off the list.

          Anyone who is tier 2 will be 10 year? I didn’t go through every offense, but I’m guessing that only the tier 3 crimes are now lifetime.

          Questions –

          Is PA SORNA compliant under this? I say no. That is pretty big news. PA would be the first state to join the SORNA club and now back out. Don’t hear all the buzz and loss of grants??

          Once they sign this bill does everything grind to a stop? Sounds like 2012 all over again?

          Mandatory fingerprinting? Never heard of anyone being fingerprinted unless they were charged with a crime or doing it willfully for some sort of cert?

          This law will be challenged as well and it will be back to the drawing board again.

          • Paul 2

            I see they are still banking on this being non punitive because they did not change SVP to beyond a reasonable doubt from clear and convincing evidence in order to designate someone an SVP this way they still keep pre sorta SVPs in the container

            I am not taking any chances with this Im going to file before they pass this crap, my guess is they have a secondary plan after they get this passed.

  14. Who removes from list

    One thing they left out is what requirements, residence, school, vehicle, and employment we the only required information from PRE SORNA. Internet Identifiers were apart of SORNA, deemed unconstitutional under Muniz.

    And IDSI was lifetime, One time per year, with petition rights after 25 years.

    Did anyone see the new requirements in House Bill 1952.

    We would assume exactly the same as before.

  15. who removes from list

    Located all the new Requirements, DID NOT NOTICE A VEHICLE AS BEING REQUIRED. Oddly, but its not there. But is it spoken of when they state what will be provided to in the internet notification.

    Sadly, this will pass. But all failure to register charges will need to be overturned and dismissed because my husband or many others were not supposed be under SORNA.

    But due to the new Bill 1952, it looks like we still need to comply with the BIG FOUR, House, School, Employment, Car.

    • Paul 2

      Page 98

      Once per year phone in everything else

      They have vehicle description and plate of owned or registered

      But work is no street address just municipality, city, state and zip

      • Paul 2

        This work address is a big deal because the majority of people can’t get jobs for the fact the address shows up on the web. I think this shows the fact that the reg laws have been starting to effect people outside of the reg and they know that will be a problem. I would say if they had got testimony from professionals this would be a point on how the reg effects the safety of the public by making it hard for an RC to stay employed. The big problem is when we win “small” things like Muniz the politicians keep changing things up. We need a big win in the SCOTUS soon or we are screwed for sure. We need to show only people proven to be a real danger to society, by real data and evidence, maybe, should be subject to this harsh punishment, not all SOs. That is the real truth. If this isn’t done soon, we will see more registration schemes, for other groups of people, like arson. We need to pool our resources together and get a big win from the top down, IML is a good start.

        • CR

          There already are other kind of registries in some states for things like arson and drug offenses, and maybe domestic violence. You are going to see more.

          The problem is that the US constitution’s bar on ex post facto law has been interpreted as applying only to criminal laws since the Supreme Court decided Calder v Bull in 1798. And in Smith v Doe 2003, SCOTUS decided that registration and public dissemination of information about persons convicted of sexual offenses does not impose punishment. If this is true for us, how can it not be true for arsonists, drug offenders, murderers, or members of any other class of criminal offender?

          So you see, there is no way to win a challenge against registration via the courts. We already lost it. The only relief we’re ever going to get via the courts is against elements of the registration laws and related restrictions that are judged to impose punishment, or those that violate some other constitutional liberty (e.g., first amendment, Packingham). That’ll help curb some of the more egregious assaults against us, but it is not going kill registration.

          Also keep in mind that whatever relief we win on ex post facto grounds does nothing for those who committed their offenses after the law was passed. The future remains dark.

          • Paul 2

            I see where you are coming from, but I believe that facts are facts and eventually the truth about the effects of registration will become mainstream and that will out weigh the political gain received from affirming, drafting and passing these laws.

  16. Me

    I’ve read through the proposed post-Muniz PA legislative bill (R-Marsico), Offenders will NOT be removed from PA ML, with possible exception to those whose offense occurred prior to April 1996, and where SORNA 2012 revisions forced a post-facto requirement of those offenders. In fact, the proposed bill seems an obvious effort to circumvent the PA Supreme Court’s post-facto ruling (Muniz v PA), wherein the Court found the retroactive application of SORNA (to those offenders sentenced prior to Dec 2012) both punitive and post-facto.

    Regardless, PA legislatiors will NEVER allow sex offenders to escape ML or any other form of public reporting applications, which are widely regarded as punitive, beyond their stated public safety intention, and largely ineffective across most metrics, aside from ML reporting violation arrests (non-recidivistic).

    The newly proposed PA ML legislation update will pass, with little to no effort… and most registrants will continue with their tiered terms, years or lifetime requirements. Furthermore, new unrelated but legislation is being passed and proposed… US passport sex offender identifier, and PA’s newly proposed sex offender housing restrictions.

    We all know that sex offender registries are first and foremost punishment. They serve political ambitions, the public’s fears and society’s anger. If there are truly such deep public safety concerns, where are the be public registries for other offender-classes that have affected children’s lives adversely… drug dealers, gang members, domestic violence, etc.

    The PA Supreme Court ruled wisely on the Munuz case being retroactive, but law makers will not abide sex offenders any relief

    • Mike S

      @ME,

      I have to disagree with your assessment of the bill. Page 63 line 28 lays out the “Period of Registration” for 10year offenses. Those 10 year offenses envelope all of tier 1 and the majority of tier 2.

      Also, the Commonwealth lays out in 4 areas of the bill that the RC gets credit for the time that they have already spent on the registry.

      My conclusion is that Anyone convicted between 1996 and 2007 of a 10 year offense will be removed from the registry as they have served their 10 years, and then some.

      IS your contention that the Commonwealth is going to restart the clock on all RCs starting the day that the bill passes? If so, Muniz would be back on the registry and the Commonwealth would be defying the PASC

      • Paul 2

        I am thinking some people are upset because they thought anyone before 2012 would be getting off reg. This law does let anyone that had enhancements to their registration get relief. Even those that will still be on reg. I do see they chose to loosen the straps for everyone in order to keep pre SORNA SVPS and lifers on reg. IA7 was a M1 in 2003 10yr reg, but SORNA changed it to life reg. That is why they put it back to 10 yr.

        We will still be able to challenge what is deemed punishment with the new law It is possible there will be a case that will show the new law has punishments in it. The fact that no politicians have used any data or testimony from experts to draft this bill is a sign that it can be shot down. There are some good lawyers on the trail of this stuff now and they will dial things in even more to hold these politicians accountable I am hoping the senate at least takes some testimony.

        • Paul 2

          I had the pleasure to speak with Aaron Marcus about the current situations He was nice enough to say that he believes the Two or more 10yr offenses is the same language as in ML3 and that the A.S. ruling would apply so anyone that had more then one 10yr offense should go back to 10yr not life unless you were convicted had time to reform and convicted again then they would combine to make life. He said PSP most likely will take people off the reg with more then one 10yr.

          He also said he hasn’t had time too comb over the proposed bill yet but has already seen there may be a problem how they are classifying people as SVPs going forward.

          He also said he still believes that Freed’s SCOTUS cert will be denied and may be sometime in Jan He also said that it looks like they are trying to get this bill pushed threw fast and the senate may not even take any testimony and it could get passed before we hear anything about the Muniz cert.

          I told him we appreciate what he is doing and hope he has time for another phone conference on these matters.

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