The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a significant ruling in regards the state's Megan's Law this summer. Under Megan's Law, those convicted of certain offenses, most sexual offenses such as rape and indecent assault, must register with the state police, among other requirements.
Pennsylvania's Megan's Law was changed in 2012. At that time the length of registration for certain crimes was increased from 10 to fifteen years and from 25 years to lifetime in many instances. Unfairly, the law also retroactively applied these new registration requirements. Individuals who pleaded guilty under a deal that promised a 10 or 25 year registration suddenly found that they were now required to register for 15 years or even for the rest of their life.
Courts, including those in Pennsylvania, allowed this clearly unfair result because they had always ruled that registration under Megan's Law was not "punitive" and therefore not subject to the prohibition of "ex post facto".
That changed on, July 19 2017, when PA's highest court released its opinion of the case Commonwealth v Muniz (No. 47 MAP 2016). In its decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the retroactive application of the state's SORNA laws to be unconstitutional under the ex post facto clauses of the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions.
Going forward, those previously subject to the retroactive application of Megan's Law in Pennsylvania will now be able to challenge that result in court.
If you have been accused or arrest for a crime of sexual assault, rape, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child or other such crimes, you need a lawyer who knows the law and will fight to get the justice you deserve. Call Scarpello & LaTour today and speak with one of our experienced trial attorney about your case.