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.