PA: Judge to weigh sex offender registration

Source: 1/12/23

A Blair County senior judge has scheduled arguments in May to consider a constitutional challenge to state law requiring convicted sex offenders to regularly register their addresses and related information with state police.

In recent orders, Senior Judge Timothy M. Sullivan set an April 11 sentencing date for Colby James ____ of Tyrone and a May 12 hearing date to consider the constitutional challenges being raised on ____ ‘s behalf to the state’s Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act.

____ , 22, who pleaded guilty in March 2022 to 17 child sexual offenses involving a 9-year-old boy, has been in Blair County Prison since his November 2021 arrest and has yet to be sentenced, partly because of the pending constitutional challenges.

In December, several briefs were filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is being asked to examine an Aug. 23, 2022, ruling by Chester County Judge Allison Bell Royer deeming SORNA to be unconstitutional when she ruled in Commonwealth v. George Torsilieri.

While Royer’s ruling applied only to the Torsilieri case, the subsequent appeal filed with the state Supreme Court could lead to a ruling affecting similar cases throughout the state.

Without knowing when or how the state Supreme Court will address the Torsilieri appeal, First Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith recently asked Sullivan to proceed with ____ ‘s sentence to address his guilty pleas, then convene another hearing to consider the constitutional challenges.

Smith said the constitutional issues will require in-court testimony in Blair County because “the matter cannot simply rest on what Chester County did.”

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The animus is that strong. “Applies only to that particular case.” What a joke.

Couple things…

1: This seems just? From the full article:
“C____ F____ who pleaded no contest in 2019 to indecent assault of an 11-year-old girl and related child pornography offenses. 

F____ was sentenced in 2020 to serve five to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation.

Tyrone police, who filed the charges, accused W___ of sexually touching the boy and watching pornography with him.

Prosecutors are on record recommending that W___ be sentenced to two -to four years’ incarceration, followed by three years’ probation.”

2: Question: These, and the other non-specific cases mentioned will delay any decision from SCOPA on the Chester County ruling?

Notable: “In Chester County, Judge Royler’s ruling recognized that defense experts there were able to demonstrate that 80 to 95 percent of all sex offenders will not reoffend. That was part of the argument the judge used in concluding that SORNA requirements were excessive and that they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.” 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

@ Also me: It seems very unlikely that any ruling by SCOPA would be delayed by cases pending in lower courts.
(If such delays were common or likely, decisions would take forever to be made because there would constantly be lower court cases that may be relevant.)