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PA: Another Blow to SORNA I with Failure to Register Conviction Relief

Source: 12/28/21

December 22, 2021 has seen the release of many case opinions from the PA Supreme Court (SCOPA) with Commonwealth v. David Santana being the biggest win for our advocacy efforts. In a 5-2 decision, SCOPA affirmed the Superior Court’s opinion that “Mr. Santana’s registration requirement under SORNA was an after-the-fact punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. Accordingly, he had no duty to comply with those requirements and his conviction for ignoring them, under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4915.1(a)(3) [failure to provide accurate information], was a manifest injustice and must be overturned,” Commonwealth v. Santana, 241 A.3d 670, 662 (Pa. Super. 2020) (en banc).

Mr. Santana committed his offense in 1983 in New York. He had to register with New York’s “Sex Offender Registration Act” (“SORA”) when it became effective in January of 1996. Pennsylvania’s “Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act” (“SORNA”) took effect December of 2012. Mr. Santana moved to PA in 2015. He initially registered with the Pennsylvania State Police and continued his duty register in-person but did not register his phone numbers, job, and social media account. For that, he was arrested and charged with failure to provide accurate information.

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The Keystone State coming through again with logical legal thinking. @AJ keeps mentioning Calder v Bull as a vehicle to use for reviewing the line of thinking this gent took on.

SCOTUS should really open their aperture and then their minds on this topic to realize they’re in the wrong when it comes to making exceptions to this idea of ex post facto being acceptable for those who have a sex offense conviction and still forced to register. Making exceptions to a basic concept (as has been done way too much in our country’s legal history) really does not bode well for a solid legal foundation when the courts can pick and choose applicability.

Knowing this, as with the others in the line of cases on this topic area, I’d not be surprised if the Commonwealth decided to apply for SCOTUS review of this case knowing what SCOTUS thinks on this topic.

I just finished reading the Court’s opinion, and it was very well thought out and followed the law to the letter.
Great decision.

You know I have to agree with TS and some others and also this article. Yes much of this registry is like a brand new territory for many. Sure I came from a small town in W,VA and yes I am in the Shenandoah Valley of VA. Sure even grandparents lived in a Ti-state area of Huntington, W,VA course that was many years ago. Cross the Ohio River and your in another State. Other way is KY/ I can see why this registry is of an interest to ACSOL. Yes each state seems to have their own laws but this Sex registry is in many ways vain and unjust and multi irrational in many ways.

One could even look up compulsory damage vs Carnal damages and yes inducement is a factor. To say I haven’t been in trouble I would be lying but their is a reason and even a reason why I took criminal Justice and many times its to understand one’s self or to futher to aspire as a lawyer like Janice or even any other type of occupation.

Sure we all go thru ups and downs in life. Even getting a clemency is a bit of a task. Even a pardon is sometimes a headache for many. While different states have different laws truth is always better than fiction.Hope this helps. While my dad use to be a CPA he hated to go to court for some company’s’ tax return. I’m just glad to see many advocates against this registry and having a bit of source to fall back on to help your neighbor out.

Hopefully the (smart website will get updated with Pennsylvania information, and Tennessee information concerning ex post facto?

You know it blows my mind that no one in CA has attempted to challenge the registry that I know of in a long time, and the last one that did way back won. Can anyone provide CA case law based on the CA constitution where the registry as whole was challenged or in piece meal? I took the next semester and next summer off college just so I can file my own case challenging the inclusion on the registry without individual dynamic risk assessments as well as privacy, safety and arbitrary grounds and would like any help with case law I can get. I find nothing in the CA SC cases addressing any of this.

DPH you are exactly right We all need to go. Riding over to Charlottesville here in VA as my sister wanted to exchange some things at Belk today, and I had to go to Staples myself. I asked her what was the biggest thing being protested in Huntington, WV at Marshall U. in the mid 70 when she went their and she said The War in Vietnam and many of those guys shouldn’t been there and getting killed in something like that.
Got to look at the registry this way. Is government still abusing or killing. Legally or not.  Is this register compounding many in all various ways. One has to remember Forgiveness is bless and that also says a lot about today.

 Sure you might say but this is different. Look at this way. It this setting up someone verses or someone taking advantage of another. Thats government in many ways. So whats worse boys getting killed in battle that weren’t even suppose to be NAM or is mankind killing and/or man for some sexual type of grading in a Tier classification. Excuse me Bill Gannon.. just doing my job ma’am.

While verbal abuse may be bad enough would a gal coning another about age even be worse. One could also talk about say incestral relationships but just go to your American History books and that will tell you all you need to know or even go to the bible but their is a limit to everything. The history of PA is interesting also. Undue and overdue punishment their is a limit and government needs to know they can’t play God to correct and serve but many times this registry is a bit blind and vain in the Justice Dept and at the same time very abusive in this government angle.

2023 can’t come soon enough . Time for registrants to make plans to come to Washington showing strength in numbers with a unified message. Janice can retire within ten years and be a hero to what was Registered Nation. If I lived closer to Washington I’d offer a bed, but if I was traveling from another region I’d stay in Washington. Let’s Go Registrants!!

This article is interesting, but I’m still confused. My conviction was in the year 2000 and I was forced to register as a tier III. If I moved to Pa, what laws would I have to follow?

Truth- I don’t know if I mentioned this before but I was caught up for drunk driving in VA. I said to myself their goes my driver as I had already had two in WV. The lawyer at the time told us that they don’t consider WV law or what you did in another state.

Yes, I have been to PA an its capital and they believe in common truth and also second chances. Sure we know the registry is all over the Nation but its the truth that will set a person free. I don’t even believe in this lifetime supervision or this chaperone ordeals in a lot of ways but I would write before planning to relocate to get the basics. Even ACLU can help on that one or Janice or Chance.. Yes many of you on here have already did your time probation or otherwise in my opinion.

See law is good if it doesn’t go overboard but many times it does I’m afraid to say.

Has anyone tried suing the boards who make up things such as the tiers or why someone is dangerous without no real proof? After all , their justification is everyone is High Risk due to posing a substantial risk of re-offending, but where is the proof? Why arent they forced to show registrants pose a greter chance to reoffend than anyone else, so why are we singled out so easily? My conviction was over 20 years ago and I’ve been out with supervision for 14 years, why isn’t that proof I’m not going to break the law? Why is it no matte4 what, we’re dangerous, and if we do the right thing, where just dangerous looking for a time to strike? All a prosecutor could say to show im dangerous is a decades old charge and nothing else. I really do believe the constitution today is about as good as toilet paper…….

 Will Allan and truth an many caught up in this registry. One has to try to understand all the viewpoints of these issues. Sure In live in a commonwealth state. an I was happy in WV. My father had pass away.  

Mother’s parents had passed away and since I had a sister in VA, she decided to move us over to that area. I can understand your views on much of this registry as well as many on Janice’s forum. Sure dad was a CPA and yes they had good education back in the early 19 hundred’s when he was growing up. He didn’t even go to college. Guess that is why my grandparents wanted me to get a good education .  Yes this registry is tough and I myself don’t even understand commonwealth law that much but you too and others on here make very good sense. 

In many ways you have to look at this registry as blind justice with all the brass tactic’s and even with this invent of computers it can and will make it more unbearable but where is the Truth for that matter. My biggest complaint about this registry is many things about can get blown out of proportion. 

Job discrimination, whether one can have use to a computer, leg monitoring, living and being around kids or even being black balled by much of this. Yes I am impressed that many on the registry have gotten employment or try to shrug this registry ordeal off in some form and we all should be glad that ACSOL and many others have wanted to take up this challenge for us. 

Law is only as good as the principal and sure probation or parole is tough but when principals and common law justice is comprehended than that’s when constitutional law steps in. I will also try to shorten my posts this coming year also.   

Here is a link to some additional information about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case, including links to the two dissenting justices’ opinions:

Commonwealth v. Santana (Pa. 2021)

Is Santana still required to register in PA for his 1983 conviction in NY?

Mr. Santana is still required to register. He’s on Pennsylvania’s registry right now. Apparently, they’re applying some Pennsylvania law regardless of Pennsylvania’s ruling. Fancy that…

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