PA: Judge made right ruling on juvenile sex offenders (Editorial)

In the twilight of his career, York County Common Pleas Court Judge John C. Uhler recently cemented his legacy as a legal lion of Pennsylvania with what might amount to a landmark ruling.

It was the right ruling — deeply grounded in constitutional principles. Unfortunately for the judge, though, it’s probably not one that will make him popular among the lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key crowd. In fact, the decision will likely be unpopular among the many people who believe sex offenders should receive death sentences — or at least life without parole. Full Article


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I don’t see how it could be punitive for a juvenile but not punitive for an adult. Punishment is punishment. The only question is whether it is too much punishment for a minor. But even if so, it is still punishment for an adult, even if not too much.

But as readers here know, if it is punishment, then they can’t apply it retroactively –and a whole hell of a lot of people having to register today could stop, as it is retroactive to even misdemeanors from way back in 1947 in California! Yet, the California Supreme Court time and again says they can apply it retroactively.

This story said the judge based his decision on a recent US Supreme Court decision, but did not say which one. Do we have a SCOTUS decision out there saying registration is punishment?!