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National

PA: Commonwealth v. Torsilieri

Nature of Case: Mr. Torsilieri — the Appellee in this case — was convicted of a sex offense and, as such, was required to register as a sex offender under Pennsylvania’s sex offense registration scheme. He brought a post-conviction challenge alleging that, because Pennsylvania’s sex offense registration law essentially used an irrebutable presumption of dangerousness that if violated several constitutional provisions related to punishment as well as state constitutional provisions protecting reputation.

The trial court agreed, and and held that based on expert evidence adducing that re-offense rates were lower, the provisions that the Appellee challenged were unconstitutional. The Commonwealth sought review.

Holding: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s opinion on the constitutional question, but did not reverse their opinion. Rather, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court observed that the Commonwealth did not submit evidence that was contradictory to the Appellee’s evidence related to re-offense rates. The Court remanded the case back to the trial court for further fact-finding on the question of re-offense rates. More

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    wow! A case focusing on actual data? This could be amazing if its not ignored!

  2. Sam

    This is the part when the government t may choose to use the “Static 99R” of its arsenal (if it helps their cause). On the contrary, the registrant may also end up using the Static 99R scam IF it helps him. Either way, expect to see the Scam 99. Remember, the “tool” is only used if it helps a side. But even at its *very* best, it is only about as good as a flip of a coin (i.e. a mere chance or guess) in accurately labeling the most “high risk” offenders. But even at that, given the dubious definitions of recidivism, sample, and non-transparent data — every bit of the Scam 99 could be questioned.

  3. New Person

    Wow. You can challenge that with stats?

    Hmmmm… @Mike R, I know you can’t use other state’s cases, but if this holds, then maybe you can cite this case as an aside/tangent.

    I do hope this case starts the avalanche for the courts to start accepting the updated statistics on recidivism.

  4. David

    🤗 So glad that a court is finally focusing on actual, verified recidivism rates ….. rather than the time-worn lie of “frightening and high”. 👍

    • Brandon

      I second that and I hope the truth can be acknowledged. Enough of this frightening and high lies!!

  5. David

    🤔 Looks like the PA Supreme Court is busy:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/06/23/bill-cosbys-appeal-sex-crime-conviction-accepted-state-high-court/3242584001/

    At least they don’t shy away and hide from sex offender cases.

  6. Saddles

    Irrebutable presumptions? Sound’s a bit of a mind inducement. So who’s carnal by nature today. Now thats callous in a nutshell in itself. One’s might as well assume everyone is naked in some ways in a court of law if one’s case makes it to a jury trial or were us due process. Is not due process guaranteed today for all or are you just presumed innocent whether one says should I bring a bible to let you understand your ways and means today. Guess we all should go back to watching Perry Mason.

    Janice keeping up with all these litigations and these trials and errors of a human nature is a mind bender in itself with this sex registry inducement type twist. So many facets. So were is the open and shut cases today. Coning is coning and cunning is cunning. Talk about acid reflux of justice. Talk about children tossed to and fro. Oh I forget we are not children and we are adults assuming to meet up with a teenage girl or whatever the case may be. So who’s protectng the mind in this mind bending game of wits. Most of these sex registry issues by computer are no more than con games.

    Guess since its a sex issue one has already assumed in advance. So actually who know’s the thoughts and intent of another in all this rocket scientist judus prudience.

  7. Dustin

    Expect the state to argue that “frightening and high” is true and that most offenses (anticipating a claim of 70 – 90 percent) aren’t reported, so the actual data is wrong. They’ll have no proof beyond what the “experts” at NCMEC and RAINN say.

    I’m curious to see how much weight the court gives that. On one hand, I’m cautiously optimistic given the tone of the order. On the other, I think it a bit strange that the supreme court would remand with instruction for the state to actually present a case. They had their chance and obligations for that and either failed or chose not to (probably the latter, leaning on most courts’ tendency against registrants in general).

    • TS

      It’ll be interesting to see if they do present the underreporting argument because that too can be picked apart and refuted as seen in this Time article (upper part before delving into gender inequality of SA claims): https://time.com/3393442/cdc-rape-numbers/

      Stats are only as good as the data inputted into them to tell the story the author wants.

    • Will Allen

      Let Registry Supporters/Terrorists lie about “frightening and high” all they like, it’s irrelevant. Even if it were true, it’s irrelevant.

      There is a legitimate reason to have $EX Offender Registries (Hit Lists). A reason. Can anyone think of more than one legitimate reason? I can’t offhand.

      There are plenty of illegitimate and/or idiotic reasons, including:

      1. Punishment.
      2. Shaming.
      3. Harassment.
      4. Vindictiveness.
      5. Keep big government big and growing.
      6. Give people employment.
      7. Make some people feel good.
      8. Raise the self-esteem of some people.

      The one legitimate reason for the Hit Lists to exist is if they help prevent and reduce future crimes. That’s it.

      We know that Hit Lists increase crimes, including $EX crimes. By how much? Should Hit Lists exist if the recidivism rate is 5% and they increase that to 20%? Should they exist if the rate is “frightening and high” at 70% and they only increase it to 75%?

      Relative to the Hit Lists, the recidivism rate doesn’t matter and the only thing that does is what affect the Lists have on it. Informed people know that the Hit Lists don’t even slightly hinder a person from committing any crime that he or she would like. The Lists promote and encourage that. The Lists obviously don’t help solve crimes either. That is even more obvious.

    • JohnDoeUtah

      I have been thinking about this as well, as it pertains to a case I am currently involved with. I have a Masters which is heavily tilted towards statistics. The biggest issue I see, is that the input data is biased. It is based on mere allegations which have not been tested by a neutral fact-finder, it is hearsay (the rules of evidence would lend that it is not allowed as evidence). The same can be said with regard to the state’s arguments that the Court should just take the legislature’s findings as fact. This is also problematic because, well, the legislature is most definitely a biased fact-finder. These both reek of sub-par due process.

      On the other hand, re-conviction is the most accurate input variable. In order to obtain a conviction there was at least some evaluation of the allegation by a neutral fact-finder or jury of one’s peers. It is based on factual numbers, a binary attribute (guilty, not guilty), and thus is not easily dismissed as hearsay.

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