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PA: Legal questions swirl around Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania

Since 1995, Pennsylvania has had Megan’s Law, which seeks to protect communities by requiring sex offenders to register with the state police, or face arrest if they fail to do so.

But a July decision by the state Supreme Court has undermined that once bedrock certainty, and cases like Davies’s are now testing the law’s reach, under which offenders have their photos, addresses and other identifying information published on a state-run website. http://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-nws-pennsylvania-megans-law-sex-offender-registry-unconsitutional-20171024-story.html

Join the discussion

  1. who removes from list

    Docket Sheet: Shawn Christopher Williams

    https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/AppellateCourtReport.ashx?docketNumber=2191+EDA+2016

    Superior Court Decision: Shawn Christopher Williams

    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/25035971.pdf#search=%22sorna Muniz 2017%22

    Proof there is NO STAY: NO stay was requested for the Williams Case, they just dropped the charges, no appeal!

    http://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-nws-pennsylvania-megans-law-sex-offender-registry-unconsitutional-20171024-story.html

    STAY GRANED FOR THIS CASE: https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/AppellateCourtReport.ashx?docketNumber=516+MD+2015 asked for a STAY in that CASE pending the US Supreme Court decision on DA Freed filing of WRIT. The Stay was granted in the case for this case ONLY because it was requested.

  2. Mike S

    Wow! Just a little one sided.

    Instead of going line by line on this ridiculous article, I wanted to raise the the issue of cost. When PA was mulling over the idea of SORNA, all we heard was that “we need to do this so we dont lose our grant money”. As we all know this is the Edwards Byrnes Grant money.

    From: Estamating the Impact of SORNA on PA:
    https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/249147.pdf

    In 2008, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) compared the implementation costs to
    the 10% loss of Byrne funds. According to this report, if Pennsylvania were to have
    implemented SORNA in 2009, it would have cost $20,165,479. The commonwealth

    received $7,640,322 in Byrne funds in 2006, which would translate to a loss of $764, 032
    for one year. The cost of implementing SORNA was projected to exceed the loss of
    Byrne funds by $19,401,477, which does not include the annual software updates
    thought to exceed $100,000.

    Now we flash forward to 2017 where PA has spent ~$21 million on implementing SORNA and another $500,000 in yearly software updates. And they are going to abandon SORNA and lose the precious $764,032 in Edward Byrne’s Grant funds (And I am guessing that they will also eat $100,000 a year in whatever contract they signed with the firm that is updating the software, but lets stick to known facts) and are going to be in the hole for another high cost website redesign to bring them back to ML2 are whatever scheme they come up with.

    My question is, where are all the people that were chirping about losing funding if we DON’T adopt SORNA? Just add this to the long list of politically intentioned “Public Servants” that are protecting the Commonwealth from the 3.6% of ~20,000 (720) RSOs that will reoffend.

  3. mike r

    The dreaded “right to know” claim. I still cannot find this elusive ” right to know ” statute or constitutional right.

    This is crazy bs I think no one is talking about. The DA is asking the judge to designate this guy as a SVP, simply because he is asserting his constitutional right to liberty. Thats really bothersome, thats like plea deals and if you go to trial we’re going to max you out ( ie my case, instead of 8 months work project and one charge now u have three charges and sentenced to 5.4 years state pen, simply because asserted my rights to liberty..

  4. AJ

    Let’s take the worst-case extreme and run with it for an article. Never mind this guy has already shown himself to be in the 3-5% that recidivates. PA is reaping what it sowed, more than it sowed, later than it sowed. IOW, they did it to themselves. What was wrong with mirroring the Federal law or using Smith guidelines? Not that I like those, but that would certainly have made PA’s law (for now) bulletproof. But nope, they had to pile on burden, after burden, after burden. The collapse of SORNA-PA is 100% the fault of the rabid legislators.

  5. Tim Moore

    Hmm, using one of the 3.5% who offend again to scare people into insecurity due to registry withdrawal. O.K. how is punishing the 96.5% who never re-offend keeping Williams from re-offending? How would the registry itself keep him from breaking into another woman’s house? Simple questions every professional journalist should ask, I would think.

  6. Eric

    step by step, bit by bit, piece by piece, the registry is going to crumble. An enormous expense, bureaucracy, confusion marred with failure, puts families at risk, no evidence to back it up, and plenty of evidence to show it doesn’t make people safer.

  7. Michael

    Notwithstanding the Muniz case, decisions in previous cases in part were based upon Article I of the PA Constitution — reputation is a fundamental right. In Commonwealth v. Muniz, Commonwealth v. Gilbert, and Commonwealth v. Reed the appellants argued that SORNA denied the appellants their rights to reputation by presuming that a conviction for an enumerated offense means they are likely to sexually reoffend. Watching oral arguments in Reed, it was clear that the court accepted that claim,and one justice told the Assistant DA arguing the case that he needed to read the Constitutional because “it [reputation] is in there.” Previously on December 29, 2014 [In the Interest of J.B., 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3468 (Pa. 2014)], the PA Supreme Court ruled that SORNA violates juvenile offenders’ due process rights through the use of an irrebuttable presumption of recidivism, i.e. “if a state denies a person or group a right based upon a particular presumption, the presumption must be universally true and there must be no reasonable alternatives available to determine the classification.”

    I mention all that because the article stated the DA’s association is working with lawmakers on fixes which could include “re-enactment of the previous Megan’s Law regime, which has withstood constitutional challenges.” I am no jurist nor am I a legal scholar, but the problem there is the reason SORNA was challenged in the first place was that it should not have applied to the appellants, and in turn should not have applied to as many as 22,000 other registrants. It would seem that applying the previous version of the law would be futile because many people currently on the registry would have been off by now. I don’t know how legislatively they could provide an answer to the sex offender registry question that could be applied retroactively to any registrant who was not required to register for life under the previous registration scheme. One would think that they are going to have to remove people from the registry now, and looking forward, enact legislation that is not as broad, otherwise there will no doubt be future challenges to the law using reputation as an argument.

    ….

    • Paul 2

      I believe Reeds lawyer argued reputation but they did not rule on it, they combined it with Muniz. I believe unless someone can show that they had some kind of increase or enhancement to their reg requirements they can’t get relief based on Muniz. Muniz was based on ex post facto punishment, not Punishment in general, big diff. It will take a different case to show punishment by SORNA now, is unconstitutional punishment. Then all people on SORNA can get relief. People from out of state have never been under any PA law, so when you move to the state the new law can be used, Someone sentenced before the new law in another state could have a case for equal protection but they are from out of state and the people in state pre SORNA can be considered a different group. I think they will treat out of state people as new reg less time they spent on their own state reg.

  8. JoeM

    Did the old Pennsylvania law provide for different treatment for out of state offenders?

    • AJ

      @JoeM:
      I was just wondering about this myself the other day. See my post from yesterday (https://all4consolaws.org/2017/08/pa-clarity-on-sex-offenders-u-s-supreme-court-appeal-needed-for-state-ruling/comment-page-2/#comment-191129) for my laic opinion about it.

      In short, I think it’s a winnable constitutional challenge.

      • Paul 2

        Well this looks like the way they are getting Pre SORNA people now that they can’t convict on enhancements

        Shawn M. Pire, 46, of Smethport, will serve 45 days to one year in McKean County Jail for a charge of unsworn falsification to authorities. On Oct. 19, he pleaded guilty to allegations that on Jan. 5, Pire was meeting with state police as part of his sex offender registration requirements under Megan’s Law, and he promised that he would notify police of any online accounts knowing it was not true.

        • Who removes from list

          @paul2 – Here is the rest of the story on why they gave him unsworn falsification to police because he was convicted in Aug 2017 prior to this plea. So he took this plea while in prison because they knew he wasnt getting out for a while. He was convicted of another sex crime after SORNA in Aug 2017. So SORNA now applies to him. So Muniz dont apply to him because he is legally under SORNA. Tricky case. But my husband thinks they werent being nice they knew he wouldnt make parole as repeat offender.

        • Who removes from list

          @paul2 – your Shawn M. Pire, 46, of Smethport, will serve 45 days to one year in McKean County Jail for a charge of unsworn falsification to authorities. On Oct. 19, he pleaded guilty to allegations that on Jan. 5, Pire was meeting with state police as part of his sex offender registration requirements under Megan’s Law, and he promised that he would notify police of any online accounts knowing it was not true.

          And now your Shawn Pire, now 47, will be serving time for a repeat offense, and now SVP UNDER SORNA.

          http://www.bradfordera.com/news/smethport-man-to-go-to-prison-for-indecent-assault/article_e0ca2fb0-7e3a-11e7-ba29-ff7771e69c57.html

        • Paul 2

          I hate to be a stickler but you’re wrong again this guy had to reg from convictions in 2000, He was charged in Jan 2017 for Fail to Provide Accurate Registration Info
          and Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, so Muniz most certainly applied to this case, it’s the reason they gave him a plea to unsworn because they couldn’t get him on the accurate info under SORNA. Do you really think they are going to do this guy a favor? He committed new crimes in 2015 and plead guilty 08/10/2017 after he was charged with the failure to comply. So his new case has nothing to do with how they treated the SORNA violation. Right?

        • who removes from list

          Your correct on the SORNA Violation, but I believe they pled him out because he will sitting in prison for a while under his new sex crime. They know when he comes home he will be under SORNA anyways as an SVP. They have him were they want him for the rest of his life. He will have to complete both sentences, his new sex crime and his SORNA Violation, they wont parole him. He is a repeat offender.

          @paul2, my husband says hi. He enjoys the devil advocate about you. It makes him research more and more. He said thank you.

        • Paul 2

          LOL Tell him I said hi too, I don’t see myself as the devils advocate I am just trying to get the real picture of what these political dirt bags are up to.

        • AJ

          I gotta take a time-out here and ask a clarifying question: Are Paul and Paul 2 the same person? Seems so…so why the two different monikers?

        • Paul 2

          I was Paul and saw another Paul then switched to Paul 2 lol

  9. who removes from list

    WOW! CASE DECIDED TODAY,

    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/26225445.pdf#search=%22sorna Muniz 2017%22

    This case places the Muniz Decision in a brighter light.

    That SORNA is deemed punishment in a whole, not just for retroactive, but you are sentenced to SORNA.

    This case that was decided today, Oct 31 2017, speak loud and clear that MUNIZ is an active case, and reversed the person SVP Status!

    His sex crime was after SORNA was enacted, yet, due to SORNA being deemed punishment, it must come with a minimum and a maximum requirement for SORNA Punishments, like a 5 to 10 year sentence for a crime committed.

    My husband believes that this case is so powerful because it is stating loud and clear that SORNA is not only punishment applied retroactively, but also you are sentenced to SORNA as punishment.

    Please speak opinions, @paul2 and @aj and others.

    • AJ

      @WRFL:
      I wish I knew if there’s a difference between cases in the pipeline (which this one was) and new cases filed. It does seem the courts are applying Muniz left and right, but so far they’ve all been applied to cases already in the system. It shouldn’t matter, as case law is case law, but with that Stay question lingering, it makes me wonder.
      =====
      For me, the most important piece of this ruling is: “[W]e are constrained to hold trial courts cannot designate convicted defendants SVPs (nor may they hold SVP hearings) until our General Assembly enacts a constitutional designation mechanism.”
      —–
      In other words, currently PA cannot declare ANYone as a SVP, and cannot even hold hearings about SVPs. Any such designation must go through the process of reasonable doubt, trial by jury, etc.
      =====
      All very good news in PA. It’s amazing how the game changes if/when it’s found to be punitive. There’s that pesky Constitution getting in the way again.

  10. Who removes from list

    My husband wanted you to see this case.

    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/26225445.pdf#search=%22sorna

    Under Muniz, SORNA IS PUNISHMENT.

    Therefore, POST-SORNA, sex crimes defendants cant be deemed SVP because it is considered added punishment per ex post facto violation state and us constitution violations.

    Meaning, if convicted for a sex crime AFTER ENACTMENT OF SORNA 2012. Then courts can only deem you TEIR ONE, TWO, OR THREE for the charge convicted of.

    AND THE COURTS CANT DEEM YOU SVP, BECAUSE SORNA WAS DEEMED PUNISHMENT AND THE TEIR SYSTEM WAS DESIGNED TO DETERMINE YOUR SORNA SENTENCE, AND IT IS ILLEGAL PER MUNIZ TO INCREASE A DEFENDANT TO SVP STATUS!

    WOW!!! WOW!!!

    • Mike S

      I hope this case does not make too much noise until after mid December. As much as we throw the absolutes in the laws around on this site, we still know that the legislature has no problem in enacting laws that violate our civil rights. This case is going to light a fire under the PA government and the DA’s association like we have never seen.

      As it relates to the case, its about time. I know if three SVPs that I was in group with that all went through the same evaluator who classified them as SVPs. This person ended up leaving the SOAB and becoming our group facilitator. It was CLEAR that she had a ax to grind in RCs and in a group where there was a longstanding feeling of safety, she had 6 of the 12 violated for technicals that were deemed “ok” as long as the group was notified. (examples: Ipad usage, drinking on special occasions, rated R movies, Maxim magazine viewing, etc)

      The 3 “svps”, IMO were good guys that made dumb choices and did not have the money and support to know how to go into the eval process. (two CPs and a Romeo and Juliet, 21 and 16 years old)

      • Paul 2

        Holy fin crap Bat Man! sua sponte

        This is outstanding. They have to have a trial to designate SVP’s. They should have cut their losses a long time ago. AJ what shall we do? It looks like they are applying Muniz to post SORNA now. I think SCOTUS has some pressure to take this case now. At least some cases based on Muniz will get to them. Ones people get takin off reg will PSP be able to put anyone back on if SCOTUS somehow rules US is not punishment or PA should keep us off right? I know we should just wait but I like to stay on top of this.

        • Paul 2

          If this gets appealed to the PA Supreme Court and they affirm Then this will be a new case that can be used for punishment right?

        • Paul 2

          Wheels up MFers ! I’ll bet pop tart, the curve ball, BoBo assistant DA is loving this. Can someone please get Aaron Marcus on the line for comment. Please post any news articles with any new interviews to get defense lawyer input.

        • Who removes from list

          @paul2 – My husband found a good case?

          He is trying to tell you Muniz is Law and we are getting played by Da Freed and the Commonwealth. The courts are still deciding!!!

        • AJ

          @ Paul 2:

          SCOTUS cannot get around PASC’s Opinion based on the PA constitution–our country’s principles of Federalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism) prevent it. If they accept it to decide the Federal question (and you know my feelings on that), they can either reverse or affirm. A reversal does no harm to PA RCs, but could hurt RCs’ chances in other cases outside PA–and would be in conflict with Snyder; affirming provides no benefit PA RCs (well, it does give them double protection), but it will bolster RCs’ chances in other cases outside PA–and strengthen Snyder.

        • New Person

          AJ is correct on this subject and has been correct since PA courts responded by stating:

          1) New registry laws violated PA Constitution. This is final. (This is case one.)

          2) New registry laws violated US Constitution. This is up for debate at SCOTUS level. (This is case two.)

          In PA, the highest law is the PA Constitution. The registry as it unconstitutional such that additional laws are punishment. The federal can do nothing about it. Here’s an analogous example. Federally, marijuana is illegal. In Colorado, they deemed the use of marijuana legal. There is nothing the federal law can do about it and within Colorado, marijuana is legal. (This is case one.)

          The second case is to challenge the federal law. If SCOTUS does not take this case, then SCOTUS is telling the nation that parts of the registry is unconstitutional at the federal level. (Or if the SCOTUS takes the case and affirms it.) That implies any state can use this PA case in their individual state to combat parts of the registry.

          Essentially, the PA courts are trying to help registrants nationwide by also stating the US constitution protections of registrants were violated. (This is case two.)

        • David Kennerly, Diminishing Shelf-Life

          Just to clarify the relationship between state constitutions and the U.S. Constitution: No state can grant fewer rights than the US constitution does, but can grant additional rights. They can be reviewed by both state supreme court and federal courts for compliance with the U.S. Constitution. So, in any state the U.S. Constitution is ultimately supreme, not the state constitution in deciding cases in which the law under consideration conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.

          Laws, of course, are distinct from constitutions but cannot violate the U.S. Constitution, whether they are federal or state.

        • Paul 2

          So can SCOTUS break this so called 50 / 50 tie on the PA issue that people are talking about? Also, if SOTUS somehow takes the case and reverses on the US side does this cancel out the PA side?

        • Michael

          Only where the U.S. Constitution is concerned. Justice Mundy said as much in Spaan back in August. Muniz is the “law of the land.”

          Understand that PA Constitution has added protections the U.S. Constitution does not have [e.g. reputation is a fundamental right]. Those added protections were, in part, the reason for the PASC’s decision.

          ….

        • Paul 2

          I hear you but, people are saying there is a 50 / 50 tie on the PA issue, so would this cause a problem if SCOTUS reverses on the US issue? Also lets say they affirm in part and stipulate things Would the PA side over rule the US stipulations?

        • Tim Moore

          My understanding is the feds can still prosecute one for drug possession in Colorado. They just don’t (unless Sessions has his way). They also prevent banks from accepting accounts where money from drugs is involved, therefore growers in Calfornia, even if licensed by the state, have to keep all their transactions in cash. During the fires, many wads of money kept on their farms went up in smoke.

        • TS

          @Tim Moore

          You are correct about CO and the MMJ industry not being prosecuted by the Feds as they could in addition to the banking laws in CO are similar to CA regarding transactions.

        • Michael

          “The federal can do nothing about it. Here’s an analogous example. Federally, marijuana is illegal. In Colorado, they deemed the use of marijuana legal. There is nothing the federal law can do about it and within Colorado, marijuana is legal. (This is case one.) ”

          Ya. You are grasping at straws. Marijuana being legal under Colorado law has nothing to do with either Constitution. Moreover, the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution establishes that the Constitution, and federal laws made pursuant to it, constitute the supreme law of the land. Marijuana is not legal, period. Therefore there is plenty the feds could do about any legalization of marijuana, anywhere [e.g. raid/close ALL dispensaries and jail it’s owners and employees].

          “If SCOTUS does not take this case, then SCOTUS is telling the nation that parts of the registry is unconstitutional at the federal level. ”

          They would not be saying that at all. A decision to not grant cert only effects Pennsylvania and it’s SOR laws. RSO’s in other states would still be bound by the laws of their state. Also, using the same arguments to challenge the laws in other states may not work. Although for the most part all state Constitutions are alike, where the U.S. Constitution is concerned, not all Constitutions are created equal. The PA Constitution has added protections that the U.S. and other state Constitutions do not have.

          ….

        • Michael

          Note that had this case made it’s way to the Third Circuit, and it upheld the PASC decision, then that could have effected Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

          ….

        • Paul 2

          I think it has made its way to the third circuit just because the defendant isn’t appealing the other side is asking for review so they can decide to affirm or not, Right? I’m asking lets say they decide to review and rule on the actual enhancements made to registration laws from the 2012 SORNA law for pre SORNA people, and they say that some of the enhancements are not punishment and pre SORNA people are not due relief from the US constitution. Then can people still get relief from the PA unconstitutionality ? People say there is a 50 / 50 split on the PA side can SCOTUS rule that the PA side is not law because of this so called split?

        • Michael

          I wouldn’t much worry about it. Because of Muniz, the courts here in PA seem poised to make waste of the SOR laws.

          On October 31, 2017, the PA Superior Court, in Commonwealth v. Butler, 2017 PA Super 344, ruled that the methodology used to designate individuals as Sexually Violent Predators under the State’s SORNA laws is unconstitutional.

          The Superior Court in Butler followed the findings of Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), as well as the decision in Muniz and held:

          “Thus, as our Supreme Court has stated, if registration requirements are punishment, then the facts leading to registration requirements need to be found by the fact-finder chosen by the defendant, be it a judge or a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt.

          In other words, since our Supreme Court has held that SORNA registration requirements are punitive or a criminal penalty to which individuals are exposed, then under Apprendi and Alleyne, a factual finding, such as whether a defendant has a “mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes [him or her] likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses[,]” 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9799.12, that increases the length of registration must be found beyond a reasonable doubt by the chosen fact-finder.”

          Designating someone as a Sexually Violent Predator under PA law automatically increases his or her minimum registration period to lifetime, and this increase creates added punishment. Therefore, this designation must be made by the trial judge or jury, and it must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” not via “clear and convincing evidence,” which is the burden of proof in civil cases.

          Anyone designated a Sexually Violent Predator under SORNA is effected by this ruling.

          ….

        • David Kennerly, Enemy Of the State, Untermensch

          “The Supremacy Clause’s relations to state-enacted marijuana laws has been addressed in a handful of legal articles, including a UCLA Law Review report from 2015:

          “The constitutional question that will determine the outcome of any preemption lawsuit seeking to invalidate state marijuana laws is whether state laws allowing the sale, cultivation, and use of limited amounts of marijuana creates an impermissible “conflict” — as that term has been defined by the Supreme Court — with the (Controlled Substance Act) provisions prohibiting marijuana altogether.”

          However, there exists a “significant constitutional counterweight” in the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering doctrine, the authors note and reference a 2009 paper by Vanderbilt Law School professor Robert Mikos titled, “On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime.”

          The anti-commandeering principle constrains the preemption power of the government, wrote Mikos, an expert on federalism and drug law.

          “That rule stipulates that Congress may not command state legislatures to enact laws nor order state officials to administer them. To be sure, the rule does not limit Congress’s substantive powers but rather only the means by which Congress may pursue them. For example, Congress may designate the sites for new radioactive waste dumps, though it may not order state legislatures to do so; and it may require background checks for gun purchases, though it may not order state law enforcement officials to conduct them. All the same, the anti-commandeering rule constrains Congress’ power to preempt state law in at least one increasingly important circumstance — namely, when state law simply permits private conduct to occur — because preemption of such a law would be tantamount to commandeering.”

          http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/03/08/supremacy-clause-states-rights-federal-marijuana-law/75041/

      • Paul 2

        I hear what you are saying but I think the more this gets out the more blame they will get for taking things too far. I think they will have way too much pressure to cut their losses now. PSP will have to act after Freed’s writ gets exhausted. I hope that these groups see the light here and pool their money to get some heavy hitters in the game on this ASAP if they can spend time and money on Holloween then they sure as hell can help with this, we need to unite on this. If some funny biz happens with SCOTUS then we have to act ASAP

  11. Paul 2

    george says:
    October 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm
    I received a letter from my attorney today saying the Commonwealth did file Writ of Certiorari with US Supreme court on 10/13/17. Opposition has 30 days to file a Brief in Opposition. She believes it is highly likely the attorneys in the Muniz case will file one. The Commonwealth has 14 days from the filing of the Brief in Opposition to reply. Bottom line, she says we must continue to wait until the US Supreme Court rules on this issue.

    • Paul 2

      Here is a letter a guys attorney received from PSP

      Dear Attorney’s Name,

      This letter is in response to your recent inquiry of (My Name), regarding your client’s sexual offender registration status following Commonwealth v. Muniz 47 MAP 2016. The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP)is aware of the case and is reviewing its impact on the registry.

      The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office has filed for a stay of the matter in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and has ninety days to file a Petition for Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. If necessary, once the Muniz case is Final, the Pennsylvania State Police will take all the appropriate actions to review the status of your client and any other offender potentially impacted by this decision, in as timely a manner as circumstances allow.

      Sincerely,
      Sgt. O.E. Rowles
      Commander
      Megan’s Law Section

      • Paul 2

        Here is an attorney saying there is a 50 / 50 split on the PA constitutionality of Muniz and that the commonwealth thinks that SCOTUS has to rule on it, I believe there are cases in PA courts that have sighted the PA side already right?

        george says:
        October 23, 2017 at 4:43 pm
        I sent an email to my attorney just now asking: The PA Supreme Court found that the PA state law that retroactively extends the duration of registration is against the ex post facto clauses of both the PA state constitution and the US constitution. If SCOTUS agrees to hear the PA case and finds that the retroactive extension does not violate the US constitution, would the retroactive extension still violate the PA constitution and therefore be unlawful in PA?

        My attorney called just now and explained the following. If I understood, she said that there was a split decision (50/50) on the PA Supreme Court as to whether the ex-post facto clause of the PA constitution gives GREATER protection or the SAME protection compared to the US constitution. The Commonwealth is arguing that IF it is the same protection then the SCOTUS will need to determine this issue. My attorney believes this is a very poor argument in view that there is a 50/50 split on this.

        I think she may also have said that some offenders in other counties than mine have orders to be removed from the registration sight, although she is not sure if the PSP is actually removing them. I am following my attorney’s current suggestion to wait until SCOTUS gives a decision. She may later change her suggestion as more information becomes available.

  12. Who removes from list

    Again..Commonwealth v Shawn Christopher Williams says it clearly, the limited binding authority is the state constitutional violational ruling. @paul2 – it all depends who you have as attorney my husbands attorney says that the above case is a homerun case for people for failures.

  13. who removes from list

    My husband wanted me to post these items for you.

    First is a case decided by the Superior Court applying Muniz which overturned a failure to register convictions of Shawn Christopher Williams, Northampton County PA.

    Superior Court Case:
    http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/25035971.pdf#search=%22sorna Williams 2017%22

    Second is the the complete docket sheet with information from time of his arrest, his appeals, and his charges dismissed after the Superior Court Ruling in the favor of Williams.

    Docket Sheet:
    https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/CPReport.ashx?docketNumber=CP-48-CR-0003673-2015

    Third is his court summary proving that he all his charges have been dropped and he is home.

    Court Summary:
    https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/CourtSummaryReport.ashx?docketNumber=CP-48-CR-0003673-2015

    Forth an Article Proving Shawn Christopher Williams in home:
    New Article Proving he is home:
    http://www.poconorecord.com/news/20171029/legal-questions-swirl-around-megans-law-in-pennsylvania

    If you need more proof, he is still on the registry site, but his conviction for failure to register were overturned.

    Anyone care to explain, or have an opinion?

    My husband wanted anyone on this site with failure to registers, contact your attorney!

    • Paul 2

      I see what you are saying but my questions are aimed at people that have or will be seeking relief recently or in the near future, I’m trying to get a read on things before SCOTUS gets involved. No one has really figured out why the stay is effecting relief for people from the PA side of MUNIZ my bet is its because of this so called split. SCOTUS can screw this whole thing up in my opinion and FREED and others are banking on it.

      • who removes from list

        @Paul2, my husband wanted you to see that Williams charges for failure to register were dropped after the Northampton County DA saw that the Commonwealth of PA has filed its writ of cert to Scotus.

        With that being said, Northampton County DA, by dropping Williams Failure to Register charges and having him released from his 33 month to 10 year sentence is telling us that MUNIZ is binding and people are due relief.

        Williams charges were dropped on Oct 18 2017, he was registered with PSP still under SORNA, on Oct 19 2017, and released from prison on Oct 20 2017.

        Williams may have not gotten relief from the registry at the moment, but this case clearly proves that they cant prosecute failure to registers until it is decided on the SCOTUS Level.

    • Paul 2

      a 15-year mandate he was hit with. That is an enhancement to the failure to comply laws by SORNA. That is how he got off, they charged him with the SORNA law. I think SCOTUS might be deciding if these enhancements really are punishment in their eyes. When will SCOTUS have to tell us if they are taking the Muniz case? Or should I say when is the earliest that they will have the opportunity to deny hearing it ? If we do not hear anything by that date then we know they are at least considering it Right?

      • Mike S

        @paul2 Here is what I understand the timeline to be

        Commonwealth submits/Docketed on 10/17/2017
        Response from Defendant due on 11/16/2017
        Commonwealth has 14 days to respond and in no way SCOTUS CAN see “file” before these 14 days.

        That means that November 30th is the first day that the case to make it to “Conference” for consideration.

        December 1st and December 8th are the next 2 (and last two Conference days to review new cases for the year). These are Fridays and the “Orders” come out the following Monday.
        January 5th, 12th, 19th are the next days in the new year

        In theory, December 4th is the absolute earliest date that SCOTUS can rule on accepting the case.

        Here is what holds it up….

        – Muniz asks for more time to write their response (they can get two 30 day extensions)
        – Muniz files on 11/16/2017 with “new” info which opens the door for the Commonwealth to provide “new” info and there could be some jockeying where the Commonwealth asks for an extension which could add another 30 days
        – SCOTUS can add the case to the Conference list and keep on moving it for a little bit. Unfortunately, there are no “rules” around this part of the process since it is in SCOTUS’s hands and they have taken very little steps holding themselves to a certain timeline.

        Our best case is that the Defenders League of Philadelphia and Aaron Marcus submit a very vanilla response to Freed’s petition where they stay within the lines. Technically Freed is not permitted to step outside the boundaries of the case and the issues presented to the PASC.

        If I were betting, I going to guess that DLP will take a 30 day extension and we don’t see a decision until Late January or Early February. That being said, I would love an early Christmas Present in the way of a denial on December 4th or 11th!!!

    • Mike S

      Williams case was an agreed upon decision that had support from the Commonwealth. While it is in the spirit of the law that we know to be true and sound, the Appellate court did not go out on any judicial ledge in making this ruling. Until we get a go or nogo from SCOTUS, there might be spatterings of backlog cases that get relief, but the overarching relief that we seek is on hold. IMO.

  14. Who removes from list

    My husband had is dismissal hearing for a failure to register today.

    No dismissal…

    But he did learn that they cant prosecute on the failure to register case if you are due relief from Muniz because the stay is for both the Commonwealth and the Defendant.

    No dismissals and no prosecuting failure to register cases where Muniz applies to the defendant until US Supreme Court denies Cert or agrees to hear and overturns it or agrees with Muniz.

    Absolutely stand still at the moment!

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