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.

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Docket Sheet: Shawn Christopher Williams

Superior Court Decision: Shawn Christopher Williams Muniz 2017%22

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

STAY GRANED FOR THIS CASE: 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.

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:

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.

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.


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


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.

My husband wanted you to see this case.


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.


WOW!!! WOW!!!

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.

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.

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: 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:

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

Court Summary:

Forth an Article Proving Shawn Christopher Williams in home:
New Article Proving he is home:

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!

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!