ACSOL’s Conference Calls

Conference Call Recordings Online
Dial-in number: 1-712-770-8055, Conference Code: 983459

Monthly Meetings | Recordings (3/20 Recording Uploaded)
Emotional Support Group Meetings


PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court finds state sex offender registration law punitive and thus unconstitutional to apply retroactively

In a big opinion today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided its state’s sex offender registration law, though civil in design, was punitive in practice and thus cannot be applied retroactively. Full Article

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...  
  • Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  • Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  • Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  • We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  • We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  • Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  • Please do not post in all Caps.
  • If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links.
  • We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  • We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  • Please choose a user name that does not contain links to other web sites
  • Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
July 19, 2017 10:10 am

Another nail in the coffin for the 2006 AWA!

State Supreme Courts in recent years that have held that the retroactive application of (SORNA) sex offender registration and notification laws violate their respective State Constitutions:

Doe v. State, 189 P.3d 999 (Alaska 2008)
Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009)
Maine v. Letalien, 985 A.2d 4 (Me. 2009)
State v. Williams, 952 N.E.2d 1108 (Ohio 2011)
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services v. Doe (MA March 2013)
Starkey v. Department of Corrections (OK June 25, 2013)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Jose M. Munz (PA July 19, 2017)

July 19, 2017 1:30 pm
Reply to  Robert

These seven cases are a mixture of compliant (OH, OK, PA) and non-compliant (AK, IN, ME, MA) States, so that further undercuts any AG arguing it’s only from States that are “anti-SORNA.” It would be nice to have some favorable rulings from further outside the NE U.S. Regardless, it adds strength to any suit others may bring elsewhere! The word about the emperor’s clothes is spreading….

July 19, 2017 3:06 pm
Reply to  AJ

The AWA is becoming such a failure. Of the only 17 states (in 11 years) DOJ boasts to be “compliant”, several seem imminent to reversing their laws – PA just implemented, NV is on hold, 6th circuit will likely impact MI and TN, OH seems likely to undo their SORN law before the 6th circuit is decided (the OH revised statue rewrite is already complete, ready for the legislature). AJ, you are right, we need some court victories in the 5th and 11th circuit for an accelerated collapse.

July 26, 2017 7:11 am
Reply to  Robert

… and Kentucky. The 6th includes the district courts in the following districts:

Eastern District of Kentucky
Western District of Kentucky
Eastern District of Michigan
Western District of Michigan
Northern District of Ohio
Southern District of Ohio
Eastern District of Tennessee
Middle District of Tennessee
Western District of Tennessee


@ Robert @ AJ
July 31, 2017 9:00 am
Reply to  Robert

So Robert & AJ, did the states then, after their respective SC’s handed them their losses, put it back to the way it was before SORNA even if they appealed to SCOTUS? If so, how long did it take to do that?

July 31, 2017 10:04 am
Reply to  @ Robert @ AJ

I have no idea, as the States involved didn’t affect me. However, I have very difficult time believing a Governor or Legislature would ignore what the State SC says. Arresting–or worse, convicting–someone based on a law known to be invalid (unconstitutional) would fall bring Federal review, as it would violate the Bill of Rights. Since that hasn’t been in the news or, to my knowledge, the courts, I’m guessing the States all complied. As to the outcome of an appeal to SCOTUS, I once again point out that SCOTUS has no jurisdiction over whether a State law violates a State… Read more »

July 19, 2017 10:23 am

I’m confused. I keep rereading that paragraph and am still not fully understanding what this decision means. How can this be punitive but only for those convicted prior to SORNA? Isn’t that like saying you can’t punch someone born before 1980 but its okay to punch someone born after? If its in deed punitive, then it can only be used while someone is under supervision. If they’ve completed their sentence, then its just as punitive for someone completing supervision a month ago or 30 years. Please post and clarify your opinion of this. I’m sure I’m just not understanding this… Read more »

July 19, 2017 11:48 am
Reply to  AlexO

It can be punitive and still “okay” for those convicted after the passage of the SORNA statute. The punitive analysis only comes into play in ex post facto claims. Challenges to the underlying law must be pursued using other theories and we are seeing some of that now, like Packingham. As these laws become more onerous, some courts seem to be less willing accept their validity even when using the least stringent “rational relation” standard. We will see more cases in the future.

July 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Reply to  Joe

I can see this split based on conviction date become very costly and unruly for states and cities to manage. Hopefully they’ll just do away with the whole thing post sentence completion.

Jim S
July 20, 2017 7:51 am
Reply to  Joe

But this should be helpful with IML, which only passed last year, right? So anyone convicted before it passed, would be considered ex post facto, right? Still doesn’t address how horrible the law is, but at least could be some relief for some RCs.

Lake County
July 21, 2017 5:38 pm
Reply to  Jim S

I’m not sure if this will help in stopping IML notification on travel. It will be harder to show that IML notifications are punishment instead of just regulatory. Since IML does not ban us from travel, showing ex post facto punishment will be a challenge. The advance 21 day notice under penalty of prison might be shown as punishment especially since providing an exact unchangeable itinerary with an advance notice creates a hardship. The passport “scarlet letter” marking part of IML might be easier to prove as ex post facto punishment especially as compelled speech. If they removed the 21… Read more »

July 19, 2017 1:07 pm
Reply to  AlexO

@AlexO Punishment after commission of a crime is ex post facto. But if the law, in this case SORNA, is on the books prior to committing the crime, it’s simply part of the punishment. It’s no different than how other “tough on crime” legislation has worked. Suppose GTA is 10-15 years, but effective 1/1/2018 a law kicks in that says it’s 25-life. Those already having gotten punished under the old law cannot suddenly be tossed in for life–that would be ex post facto. But anyone committing the crime on or after 1/1/2018 will face a harsher punishment. Punishment cannot be… Read more »

July 19, 2017 2:39 pm
Reply to  AJ

You keep using the word “punishment”. The article starts out saying, “…though civil in design, was punitive in practice…” By law, you can’t continue “punishing” someone after they have completed their sentence. For example, if at the time of your conviction your crime constituted 1 year in jail but later the same crime was changed to 3 years, they can’t go back and have you serve those extra two years after the fact. And in this case, if I understand it correctly, if they made a new law that you can’t live within 2000 feet of whatever, those convicted prior… Read more »

July 21, 2017 7:30 am
Reply to  AlexO

@AlexO I’m not completely sure where your confusion is coming from, as it seems at times you grasp it exactly, but then claim confusion. Your confusion seems to revolve around a belief the laws being applied as regulatory and punishment at the same time. I’m unclear where you got that anyone has ever made that claim or that such is occurring anywhere. The Government says it’s regulatory, allowing them to reach back in time; the Courts are now saying they agree with us that it’s punishment, only allowing henceforth application. Your examples are, for the most part, correct (the 2000′… Read more »

New Person
August 28, 2017 1:33 pm
Reply to  AJ

I get what Alex is saying. Pre-date new legislation = punitive Post-date new legislation = regulatory Therein lies the problem. The new regulation is punitive as it was deemed so for the pre-dated cases. That is where Alex’s mind is at. Essentially, I think this is what Snyder might be addressing as well. Because Michigan found the added penalties as punishment, then by logic, the regulatory scheme is now a punitive one. I recall someone stating that the regulatory scheme must be seen as whole. Thus, if one part is false, then the whole scheme must be done away with.… Read more »

July 21, 2017 7:36 am
Reply to  AlexO

Punitive = punishment. Civil = regulatory.

New Person
August 28, 2017 1:42 pm
Reply to  AJ

Registration => civil.

As per Muniz,

New law to current registrant = Punitive (ex post facto)
New law to newly minted registrant = Civil ?

Removing adjectives from registrants, the new law (penalty) is punitive and civil to the same identified group. Well, that doesn’t make any sense b/c it, the penalty, cannot be both.

Since punishment was identified, then the new law is actually punishment in nature. The registry was deemed only civil in nature. You cannot have a punitive aspect existing within a so called civil regulation.

Leroy Spann
August 28, 2017 10:00 am
Reply to  AlexO

I think you should look up the case law which there are seven already presented to you and study them , find the one that fit your case and what you don’t understand get someone to help you. I have to admit the parole board will play games with you like you are stupid but you can’t give up. My only question to you is why haven’t you did something when they first came to you about the life time on Sorna because let me tell you brother I was cursing and everything , I said what if I don’t… Read more »

July 19, 2017 10:26 am

This is Awesome. Love it. Love that comment. “Wage war against the Registry” I’m on board.

Will it go further or not?
July 19, 2017 10:27 am

Good article to read. I did not read the majority opinion and dissent, but look forward to the others here who will because I enjoy their comments and analysis. Wonder now if the 3rd Circuit, which PA is a part of, will be the next stop for it. If it does go there, the 3rd includes NJ, which we all know is the home of one IML author, Rep Chris Smith, who will certainly be watching from the sidelines.

Who is starting the betting pool here?

July 19, 2017 11:11 am

How can the case go further? The appellee won. Unlikely that the State will appeal their own PA Supreme court ruling.

I believe State AG can appeal again to a higher court
July 19, 2017 12:03 pm
Reply to  Robert

If the State AG wants to appeal it, it can. They lost despite it being their own Supreme Court. If they did appeal it, would be nice to see them lose it again, then appeal to SCOTUS.

AK did the same thing when their Supreme Court said the same thing…..all the way to SCOTUS

If I am wrong here, someone will correct this entry.

July 21, 2017 9:11 am

PA can appeal the Federal aspect of the case to SCOTUS, but not the decision based on the broader rights afforded in the PA Constitution. The broader rights of consequence here and granted by the PA State constitution are not Federally unconstitutional. So even if PA appeals to SCOTUS, the best they can hope for is the Federal ex post facto being overturned. They’re still stuck with the state-level ex post facto decision.

July 19, 2017 11:54 am

The PA court seemed to go out of their way to only resolve this case under the PA Constitution and specifically stated that any Federal court decision on the Federal ex post facto question would likely have no impact on their findings under state law. IIRC, the only “relief” available to the Commonwealth is an appeal of the state court decision to the SCOTUS and that is not likely to be taken on cert. Even if jurisdiction could be found or created, I would suspect that the Feds would encourage the SCOTUS to NOT take this case for similar reasons… Read more »

Chris F
July 19, 2017 1:35 pm
Reply to  Joe

I read it differently. I thought they took the unusual stance of declaring it Unconstitutional for both Federal Constitution and the PA Constitution. They did this because previous cases the court only did Federal and then the case got kicked back down to them from SCOTUS reversing them and then they had to adjudicate the state Constitution issue and try to send it back up. They just wanted to prevent the time and trouble of sending it twice and went ahead and ruled on both Constitutions. I applaud that. Too many times a high courts only rules one thing Unconstitutional… Read more »

July 20, 2017 8:51 am
Reply to  Chris F

I wholly agree with Chris F on this, and in fact was going to post something similar until I saw his posting. The PA SC was very smart in how they handled this, as they’ve pretty much made it a complete waste for the Commonwealth to appeal to SCOTUS. Having ruled that, regardless what SCOTUS says about the Federal aspect, PA-SORNA violates the PA Constitution, the Commonwealth has nothing to gain. PA RCs are now protected at the State level from this law, thanks to PA having a stronger set of rights than the US Constitution gives. I did read… Read more »

July 19, 2017 10:37 am

“… though civil in design, was punitive in practice…”, Now there is a new legal phrase that can be useful?

July 19, 2017 12:01 pm
Reply to  Harry

Not a new phrase or concept. That is why we have that multi-factor analysis of what constitutes punishment as a matter of law. ALL laws challenged in these cases are claimed to be merely civil, ministerial or what have you.

July 19, 2017 1:35 pm
Reply to  Harry

Nope, this is already in case law. Rational Basis review looks at 1) intent and 2) effect. That is exactly what “though civil in design (intent), was punitive in practice (effect)” is. What it does mean is that even the lowest, easiest-to-win level of review (Rational Basis) says it’s punishment.

July 22, 2017 8:30 pm
Reply to  AJ

AJ, THAT is what is interesting about these recent cases. In the past, the courts have mostly refused to apply any type of enhanced scrutiny to these laws unless they were crazy ones like forcing a person to move out of their home even though they had been living there before the new law was passed. That is what got Georgia and Kentucky into trouble. But lately, courts have come out and said that some of the newer laws cannot even stand up to a rational relation test when applied retroactively. The first one of these new breed may have… Read more »

July 19, 2017 11:39 am

I havent read the article yet, but based on the first sentence “punitive in practice and thus cannot be applied retroactively” I would think if any of it is deemed “punitive in practice” it cant be applied to anyone unless the specific conditions were in their plea agreement or court decision. I imagine this is where substantive due process comes in with the ex post facto claims, which sets the precedent for a challenge via a procedure due process claim. There was a dicussion the other day on another article on here involving a lawsuit and due process. Right now… Read more »

July 19, 2017 12:16 pm
Reply to  Lovecraft

Pg. 47 – “We are also aware our decision that SORNA violates the federal ex post facto clause is a departure from federal case law which has upheld the Adam Walsh Act against federal ex post facto challenges.”

Most courts have stopped short of finding the federal case law unconstitutional, this is a solid decision that is sure to be cited from now on.

July 20, 2017 9:17 am
Reply to  Lovecraft

@Lovecraft IMHO, there is, and will never be, a reason to introduce a Procedural Due Process (PDP) claim. It’s a horrible argument, as it cedes (or at least ignores) the constitutionality of the law itself and any liberty interest deprivation(s). One must always sue under Substantive Due Process (SDP). Going back to the unanimous opinion of SCOTUS in CT DPS v Doe (, “[u]nless respondent can show that the substantive rule of law is defective [], any hearing on current dangerousness is a bootless exercise.” Bootless. In other words, fourteen years ago, SCOTUS said PDP is a waste of time.… Read more »

July 20, 2017 12:03 pm
Reply to  AJ

Thanks AJ. Yea I know SDP is the only viable due process claim. SDP is the crux of our nc challenge. One of the people in the lawsuit suggested that if a SDP claim was won in court that it could introduce the ability to process a PDP claim. For all practical purposes a victory in SDP should be enough to pave the way to make the registry just that, a registry. (with no extra bells and whistles) Im with you, I dont think the registry is going away at least not anytime soon, but the restrictions are on their… Read more »

July 20, 2017 2:08 pm
Reply to  Lovecraft

Yes. If there is no SDP violation, one could then go down the PDP route to make sure the process of applying punishment (if any) was done in a legal, constitutional manner. I think once the “fun” (and funds from Uncle Sam) of chasing down RCs to try to catch them in a violation evaporates with the punitive scheme, State’s may find a risk-based registry more valuable. That shouldn’t be too hard to do, as a Psychosexual Evaluation could be made part of any court proceeding, just like a PSI is. I think it will take a while for our… Read more »

American Detained in America
July 19, 2017 12:41 pm

Perhaps this is a sign that the avalanche needed to see the registry abolished could be coming…

July 19, 2017 5:12 pm

I believe within 5 years we will see the registry fall apart, at this rate. It may be outright outlawed or it will be a skeleton of what it is today. The momentum is there, we aren’t going backwards anymore.

July 20, 2017 9:20 am
Reply to  Joe123

I foresee it being a skeleton, probably back to what AK had under Smith. I’m skeptical of it ever going back to being a non-public registry. I do think it will happen faster than five years. The process is crumbling fast at the State level, and I think SCOTUS will use Snyder to take care of those States that have yet to admit or face the unconstitutionality of it all.

July 21, 2017 7:10 am
Reply to  Joe123

Depending on Snyder I could absolutely see “something” big happening way sooner than within 5 years. What exactly that entails, who knows. I’d love to see it completely abolished, but I’m not sure the SCOTUS is willing to go that far. Maybe back to the original “Price Club” days, with everything after that deemed ex post facto. We’ll see….

kind of living
July 19, 2017 1:45 pm

well its about time someone see that its wrong to stick this crap on people that have like old plea agreements that said nothing about having to register , like before the iml , its is punitive for those people , but should also be looked at as punitive for everyone else as well on many different levels , not just because it was not even law yet , at least in the old law of CA you could leave the state and move along and the most you were looking at was petty stuff , and its not like… Read more »

Chris F
July 19, 2017 2:20 pm

I’ve read the opinion completely. It’s great news, but I still have a few concerns. They totally blew off the challenge to recidivism actually being low. The plaintiff provided tons of proof it was a low number, and the state, as usual, said they found some conflicting findings and even the low numbers don’t take into account the possible huge amount of unreported crimes. The state requests the determination of dangerous recidivism be left to the legislature and not addressed by the Judiciary. The judges agreed. Here was the line from the State: “appellant is misguided in asking this Court… Read more »

Judges leaving work on the table
July 19, 2017 5:01 pm
Reply to  Chris F

Ugh…..Judges…..not wanting to stand up… @Chris F, nice write up and thanks for it Open thoughts here: They know there will always be conflicting data because people will read and interpret data as they want when classifying it before publishing it. Many people here have shown what is truly in a recidivism rate vs what someone else puts into it then calls is recidivism. I won’t repeat the discussion points on that but they are valid by those who opine here on the real data rates. The Judges shouldn’t have chickened out on that argument but taken it head on… Read more »

July 19, 2017 7:04 pm
Reply to  Chris F

The one way to nip this in the butt, is to ask for an evidentiary hearing during the case in chief, before appeals. That way it gets into the record, and the judge is forced to rule as a matter of fact. The Plaintiff must object to the states studies and ask for the hearing, and a ruling that the state’s studies are false and misleading. This would include expert witness testimony from both sides regarding the studies, maybe even from the authors. An expensive proposition, but greatly needed.

July 19, 2017 7:23 pm
Reply to  Chris F

“even the low numbers don’t take into account the possible huge amount of unreported crimes” Uh-oh here we go with that tired agrument. I love the lets make a statement seem logical to the general public which makes registrants look bad, but have zero data to quantify said remark. Come on judges! You should be better than that. Try this logic: if a registrant commits another sex crime and someone knows about it, they are way more likely to report the registrant because guess what….they are already on the registry. In fact, im willing to bet 99% of the time… Read more »

July 20, 2017 1:52 pm
Reply to  Lovecraft

I can vouch that at the very least shoplifting, underage drinking, jaywalking, marijuana use and speeding are all under reported. 🙂

July 20, 2017 1:48 pm
Reply to  Chris F

@Chris F I agree with what you wrote, but am a little less concerned about the recidivism aspect. That the PA SC didn’t challenge it in their Opinion doesn’t say much to me. Perhaps they challenged it during argument. Perhaps due to the back-and-forth of what the “real” numbers are, they chose to leave it out in order to have a more solid Opinion. Perhaps they see it as of secondary and/or unnecessary importance given the weight of the Mendoza-Martinez factors. It would have been nice for them to address it, but in this specific case it doesn’t appear it… Read more »

Chris F (@AJ)
July 21, 2017 7:49 am
Reply to  AJ

I read some of this case you linked at the bottom. I find it interesting that they bring up the Booker SCOTUS decision where: “In it the Supreme Court held the sentencing statute unconstitutional insofar as the guidelines were mandatory and to the extent that they allowed the upper limits of the sentence to depend on facts that had not been established by a plea of guilty or proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.” So in effect, Legislature can’t set in stone what a Judge can do, but somehow that is exactly what happens with sex offender registration.… Read more »

July 21, 2017 9:00 am
Reply to  Chris F (@AJ)

@Chris F Yeah, I read some of the Irey case (256 pages!), but didn’t get too much out of it. It seemed to be more an argument within the judiciary than anything else. I did a document search on “recidiv” to see what would come up, and nothing leapt out at me. The studies all seemed to deal with contact offense, which was pertinent in the PA case, but not to SOs in general. I was disappointed to see in Irey that yet again “frightening and high” from Smith was cited. They also mentioned that Congress had found recidivism high.… Read more »

Chris F (@AJ)
July 21, 2017 11:50 am
Reply to  AJ

@AJ “I’d be interested in seeing is if there are cases where a law mandated loss of driver’s license for a certain amount of time, say 12 months, and judges have issued less time, perhaps 6 months, due to mitigating circumstances.” I’ve posted something exactly like this at the end of the General discussion with a case in Houston for a sex offense not getting any supervision after jail time. We can probably continue this discussion there once it’s approved, which it should be if you can read this. 🙂 Basically, Booker not only affect upward changes, but also downward,… Read more »

Chris F (@AJ)
July 21, 2017 1:31 pm
Reply to  Chris F (@AJ)

@AJ Oh, and to clarify, like many cases I bring up I don’t expect something like Booker to be part of the primary challenges to the registry. There are much better arguments. I just would like them included somewhere in an argument to add to the overall pool of reasons the Registry hampers the Justice department and how nothing should be put on someone after completing their time unless it passes a very strict scrutiny and the public is in grave and immediate danger. I have a similar opinion on the Involuntary Servitude argument. Standing alone, I think it doesn’t… Read more »

July 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Thank you, Quaker State, for recognizing what so many in the judicuary are too cowardly to: the Registry is unconstitutional ex post facto punishment. Nothing but a modern day pillory designed to shame and ostracize!

July 20, 2017 7:06 am

It only takes one state to get the ball rolling…, punitive is punitive no matter how you cut it.
Hopefully, this is it!

July 20, 2017 7:41 am

Chris F, I agree with you when u stated the Court decided to tackle the issue head on on both Fed and State constitution for fearing of SCOTUS overturning them on the US constitution. As the PA Court own word …(We are also aware our decision that SORNA violates the federal ex post facto clause is a departure from federal case law which has upheld the Adam Walsh Actagainst federal ex post facto challenge… Therefore, our holding under the Pennsylvania Constitution would remain unchanged SHOULD the U.S. Supreme Court resolve the issue contrary to our analysis of the federal constitutional… Read more »

Chris F
July 20, 2017 8:44 am
Reply to  TXSO4Life

Will someone flle a brief challenging the state’s brief of lies?

July 20, 2017 8:29 am

Just using the wording punitive is epic. A state Suprime Court has said it is punitive and the US Suprime Court said in the past these laws are only civil.

This is a strong ruling that if peopl can keep building on will allow a documented history of legal rulings to show tSCOTUS that they need to end this practice

July 20, 2017 9:41 am
Reply to  RP

Hopefully they can prove that it’s all punitive, and not just the ex post facto aspects. I was convicted in 2008, so none of the ex post facto decisions directly affect me. Now if it can be proven the whole thing is punitive, and not just ex post facto, then it helps everyone.

July 20, 2017 1:57 pm

Ex post facto pretty much does make “the whole thing” punitive. The Ex Post Facto aspect merely prevents the punishment from reaching backwards in time; the prospective aspect will need to be attacked as excessive/unwarranted deprivation of liberty interest(s). But, with it being punitive, the 5th and 14th Amendments kick in. Given the scheme was deemed regulatory when pretty much anyone was convicted, there is no way there was any deliberation, risk assessment as to recidivism and/or rehabilitation, or due process afforded. Instead, one was given a “mandatory minimum” of whatever existed at sentencing.

New Person
July 20, 2017 9:04 pm
Reply to  AJ

That’s the hope.

Because the newer laws are considered punitive due to the construction “for the regulatory scheme”, then, hopefully, things can be revisited since the new laws are punitive. You can review punitive law, you can’t regulatory. That’s why SCOTUS bent over backwards to pass registration as a regulatory scheme based upon it’s “frightening and high” recidivism rate and the need to protect public safety from such an extreme threat of 80% recidivism rate.

July 21, 2017 4:12 am

It’s my Guess that PA will just Create a second set of rules for People Convicted Before SORNA, but never let them off the list.

July 21, 2017 5:54 am
Reply to  Stephen

That would be blatant ex post facto beyond even what we’ve seen to date. I would imagine (hope) if they tried to implement “special” laws purposely designed only for those convicted prior to SORNA it would immediately be challenged and shot down.

July 21, 2017 10:01 am

Here’s another article on the ruling:

I strongly encourage folks to post comments to such news articles. Let’s use facts and good arguments to lead public opinion back to reality, common sense, and justice.

July 21, 2017 10:30 am

Soooo…..fellow RC’s have been wronged by their state. Please tell me that’s enough for an epic class action suit.

P.s Death to the Registry

Chris F
July 21, 2017 12:27 pm
Reply to  ReadyToFight

Funny, but I’ve often thought, the only way to STOP legislature and the public from continuing to ignore the US Constitution in the future when creating laws against a dis-favored and politically powerless class is if the courts were to awards tons of money to those hurt by the Unconstitutional laws. Can you imagine how carefully they would construct future laws if it was reported that child molesters were given thousands of dollars from the state or federal government? This is definitely possible, though unlikely. I only say it is possible because at some point the judges will get upset… Read more »

New Person
July 21, 2017 3:46 pm
Reply to  Chris F

Don’t forget to use of manipulative statistic! Dr. Ira and Tara Ellman proved how egregious the SCOTUS deemed sex offenders as a threat to public safety. This is similar to Justice Alito stating that the rate of re-offense is 4x’s higher than any other convict to commit a sexual offense. Well, therein lies the problem – it’s not a re-offense rate vs re-offense rate comparison. Sex offense between a sex offender and any other convicts reveals how minuscule sex offenders are to any other convicts. I believe the best way to put SCOTUS and legislators on the proper is to… Read more »

Good analysis of PA SC AWA loss
July 22, 2017 7:35 am

AWA Loses in Pennsylvania’s Highest Court

Civil rights first
July 23, 2017 11:36 pm

So…. in short I take this to mean any changes to my states registration statute (WA) after my conviction is ex post facto…. and since at the time of my offense (1997) there was no mandatory life registration that would mean I could make that same argument.

If applied to you
July 24, 2017 6:55 am

Yes, if they applied the changes to you after your conviction and time served, that’s ex posto facto.

Civil rights first
July 24, 2017 12:52 pm

If this is the case then any changes to the registry since my conviction wouldn’t apply to me. Like the newly implemented change on July 23, 2017 that requires me to notify I writing 21 days certified mail return receipt requested of any intentyou travel out of the country. Or the life time requirement to register…

July 25, 2017 4:31 pm

My husband was convicted in 2006. Sentence in 2006. Commonwealth v Muniz applies to him. But who is responsible for removing him from SORNA and putting him back on Megans Law 3. With all emotions set aside. The big issue is, who is resposible for removing his name from Sorna.

July 26, 2017 7:35 am

The Pennsylvania State Police. It is possible that sometime PSP will begin to remove people affected by this ruling from the registry, but this could take quite some time. Your husband might want to consult an attorney.

PSP would delay it too...
July 26, 2017 8:04 am
Reply to  Michael

And you know PSP will drag their feet to delay it as much as they can until told no more delays. A court order would be helpful to ensure it gets started because PSP Chief wouldn’t want a contempt charge.

July 27, 2017 11:24 am

Writ of Mandamus [Action in Mandamus], which is what an attorney would be filing, isn’t a blanket order. It applies to the appellant only.

Once the Attorney General’s Office issues a formal opinion to the Pennsylvania State Police to remove offenders, they’ll have to start removing people.


July 26, 2017 8:43 am

As Michael said, it’s the State (PSP in particular) who must remove it. They have no grounds to delay, either, since regardless whether the AG appeals the Federal aspect of the PA SC decision, the State part stands. The longer the State drags its feet on removing people, the more its butt is hanging out for a lawsuit. Agreed that any attorney needs to be brought in. Perhaps the State needs to be forced to pull the whole site down until it can clean it up.

July 26, 2017 11:18 am

My husband called PSP today. He was told that being July 19 2017 was the decision for Commonwealth V Muniz. The state has 30 days from that date to appeal. He was told that they are looking over 17,000 registered offenders. They estimated 4500 will be removed. They have been told to begin to look at the convictions. A letter will be sent to each person due relief from Muniz. They will be sending letters out on August 19 2017. She also stated a court order would not be necessary, however, my husband believes it would be a good idea… Read more »

July 26, 2017 4:06 pm

@Whoremovesfromlist I think I would push harder on PSP (via an attorney) on this. The Commonwealth can only appeal the portion of the Opinion addressing the Federal constitutional issues; the Commonwealth portion is decided and cannot be appealed. PSP cannot follow Federal guidelines that are unconstitutional at the Commonwealth level. In other words, any possible appeal is moot to the outcome, as the Commonwealth-level ruling will stand no matter what. I’d get an attorney and see about forcing PSP to act–they obviously has the information ready and split out of the database, so they can’t say they’re not prepared. P.S.… Read more »

Lake County
July 27, 2017 2:30 pm
Reply to  AJ

“Whoremoves” that’s just too funny AJ. I read it as “whore” also.

July 27, 2017 10:17 pm
Reply to  Lake County

Whore moves list. I was trying to picture that for awhile, then I moved the spaces… duh!

July 26, 2017 5:23 pm

Wow. What a wonderful feeling you must have. Very happy for you!

July 27, 2017 7:42 am

If you do contact an attorney, be sure s/he knows that in Calder v Bull (1798), SCOTUS determined it has no jurisdiction over whether a state law violates a state constitution. “[T]his court has no jurisdiction to determine that any law of any state Legislature, contrary to the Constitution of such state is void.” ( As I said above, the State-level portion of the case has had its final determination and cannot be appealed. I would think any half-sharp attorney could make a successful case in the State (NOT Federal) court system and blow away that 30-day appeal claim.

July 28, 2017 5:52 pm

Ok, Ladies and Germs,

Though I am not from Pa. I did run across this a few minutes ago on the NARSOL SITE , regarding the Pa registry. I was not sure which Pa Article to put it under, and I apologize if this was already found and posted some where else on here ,but here is what I found.

S foersch
July 29, 2017 4:51 pm

Very confused with the decision. My husband got off the Pa registry last year after fighting the courts. We were told that if we travel he may still have to register in another state. Does this decision absolve him from having to register in another state?

It depends
July 29, 2017 6:25 pm
Reply to  S foersch

Most states I believe don’t care once you are done, you are done. However, there are a couple states, where I think FLA is one of them, who seem to think you need to register even when you are no longer required in your home state. Others here will chime in with their knowledge of it….

July 29, 2017 8:50 pm
Reply to  It depends

A border wall need to be built to just north of Florida.

July 29, 2017 8:22 pm
Reply to  S foersch

@S foersch First, congrats for getting off the list in PA! That must have been a nice feeling to finally get that freedom. As to your question, it does indeed depend. It all depends on how the State visited has written its “regulations.” Some tie registration requirements to how long it’s been since the conviction, adjudication, etc., while others tie it to whether required to register in the State of conviction. States sometimes create a special definition of “resident” that applies only to the SORA laws of the State. They then will state that any resident convicted, etc, must register… Read more »

Trip reqs for RCs
July 30, 2017 7:49 am
Reply to  S foersch

Here is a list of the 50 states and their requirements from this website’s legal section above. It is confusing because the states make it confusing, not because the author makes it confusing. It can be read through to gather some understanding basically of when you’d need to register. Finding it in each state’s laws online is a hard effort at times, so this here is a good ref point to start with. The other catch that has been recently discussed here is the person(s) traveling with the RC may be held liable for knowing the RC laws, e.g. Wyoming… Read more »

July 30, 2017 8:14 am

You could also use the doc provided by USSG in its amicus to SCOTUS: I have to say that, given the tenor of the USSG’s amicus, I have suspicion as to why they used such an old document.

The document is dated (Aug 2009), but it lists the applicable statutes for each State as well as their restrictions and such. Again, it’s only a reference, not necessarily the gospel truth. But at least it can help in finding the laws themselves, which “Trip req for RCs” correctly points out can take effort.

July 30, 2017 8:21 am
Reply to  AJ

…addendum. Right after I couldn’t edit my post, I found a slightly newer version (Nov 2010) of the document:

I don’t know what differences there are, but I wonder why USSG couldn’t have done this? Hmmm…lazy, dishonest, or incompetent?

Long hand is job security
July 30, 2017 10:33 am
Reply to  AJ

They have to show how smart they are by doing it in long hand all the way instead of finding a credible reference to point out and use in the doc. They like to work harder not smarter as others like to do the opposite. Job security you know….

Who removes from list?
August 16, 2017 6:23 pm

My husband located a case from PA Supreme Court – Leroy Spann vs PSP and Pennsylvania Parole Board. The PA Supreme Court used the Muniz Decision in his favor. Even the decision was concurring by Pa Supreme Court Judge Saylor and Mundy, and admit they dont agree with Muniz decision, they stated it is now Pa Law and must be applied to Spann. PSP or Pa State Parole couldnt mandate Leroy Spann to Register under Sorna because his sentence was 1990. Please look into this and post of your site, if this is correct!! This means that Muniz Decision, can… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x