Challenge of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1183

On December 20, RSOL sent a press release to 130 news outlets, and a few legislators, primarily in PA, announcing that it would soon challenge sections of Senate Bill 1183 (Pennsylvania’s new sex offender registration requirements) on multiple constitutional grounds. Constitutional challenges to AWA and other legislation and laws that affect our advocacy are meeting with some success. Just look at what is happening in CA and a few other states. This doesn’t just affect PA or any one state. A victory anywhere is a victory for us all; we are truly all in this together.

We need your financial support!  If you have thought about making a donation to our legal fund, or encouraging your constituency to do so, this is an excellent time. There is a legal fund PayPal button on the website, or mail checks to RSOL Legal Fund, PO Box 36123, Albuquerque, NM 87176. Donations to the legal fund goes directly to this and other challenges by RSOL. Please help us help you and your family!

Thank you all.

December 20, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Larry Neely
RSOL Legal Committee
202-709-3890.

Reform Sex Offender Laws Inc. (RSOL) plans to soon challenge sections of Senate Bill 1183 (Pennsylvania’s new sex offender registration requirements) on multiple constitutional grounds.”

Today marks the beginning of enforcement of a controversial new state law that purports to protect citizens from registered sex offenders. RSOL’s executive director Brenda Jones stated, “It is disappointing that Pennsylvania’s lawmakers chose to ignore the lessons learned when Ohio proceeded down this same disastrous path more than five years ago.” Ohio was the first state to be deemed AWA complaint, but the courts subsequently have found several aspects of Ohio’s new law unconstitutional. After expending millions of taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional law, Ohio was forced  to revert back to the old registration system for those sentenced prior to the new law’s enactment.

Jones stated that provisions of Pennsylvania’s new law “transform what is supposed to be a non-punitive, civil regulatory measure into a form of lifetime probationary supervision for most persons on the registry,” which RSOL believes to be blatantly unconstitutional. “And further,” she continues, “all individuals on Pennsylvania’s registry will see their registration periods dramatically increase, with the majority becoming life-timers. This,” she emphasized, “is a violation of the ex post facto clause.”

Jones stated that although the new law was touted by its supporters as necessary to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA), “It does little if anything to improve public safety, and any marginal benefit achieved is at the expense of trampling over our most cherished constitutional protections.”

Jones concluded her remarks by saying, “It is most unfortunate that RSOL must undertake such a challenge, but make no mistake about it; we cannot and will not stand by while public policymakers shred the constitution and disregard their oaths of office.”

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    • #12153 Reply
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      Chad Collins

      Can anyone update me on what is happening with this? I had 3 weeks time left and was supposed to be off. Now I have 15 more years. I also have to register twice now instead of once a year. I am guess I became more “dangerous” 14 years later somehow. This is ridiculous. I might as well live in Iran. I dont owe this country or state jack any more!

    • #12154 Reply
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      David M. Gailbreath

      Chad,

      I have sent you an email regarding this topic today. At the present time, we are meeting with an attorney and looking at a few other avenues to launch a challenge to the retroactive application of the AWA in Pennsylvania that we are hoping to launch in the upcoming month.

      Respectfully,

      David M. Gailbreath
      Director
      PA Justice Reform Coalition

    • #12155 Reply
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      Mark NEPenn

      I would also like to follow what the status is of this Bill. Paying your debt to society just is not enough anymore I guess and being labeled a Monster must be applied in order to continue on with your life. This makes no sense to me, my family members, my friends and others that know me.
      To think, I could pull over on the road to take a call on my cell phone knowing it is safer not to drive and talk but not knowing that a school is around the corner I could be arrested for being in that area. What the heck man? My new neighbors prejudging me only because my picture appears on the Internet. I bought a house and now have to live with my neighbors for years; what is this telling me about my rights to live as free as my neighbors do. Things have to change. Public fear is fed by lack of knowledge of statistics. At what point will this end. Next there will be a law stating that a camera must be posted outside a registered sex offenders home to monitor his/her movements. Does not sound outrageous because cameras are all over the place now. Once, just used to monitor red light violators, now all over the place. Just wonder how many of these persons operating the cameras are not pointing them somewhere they are not supposed to. Employment is next to impossible. With the restrictions getting tighter and tighter it will be almost impossible for us to leave our homes in fear of violating some type of restriction and the worst part is besides the restriction itself is that how are we supposed to know the restrictions; they are not posted anywhere that I know of. If I plan a trip to my friends house 3 hours from here, how do I know I am not violating any restrictions from my home to his. So on my journey I am involved in a slight traffic accident. Cop runs my drivers license, finds out I am a registered SO, know of an ordinance and I am arrested. This can happen. Where does this end???? When will it end????
      Living in the Comm Of Penn for retirement is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Retirement is right around the corner. But have I selected the right state for this; maybe this state is less restrictive than others right now; oh wait, what about in two years if other laws of restrictions are passed. So now I spent all this money on a retirement home just to realize I am being held captive in my own home or find that I may have to sell my house because of a new restriction in my area. I am at the end. I just don’t see how things can any better but just worse. Something has to be done to protect our rights, our human rights, our constitutional rights.

    • #12156 Reply
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      Mark NEPenn

      May I also get a copy of that email. I live in northeast Penn and would like to follow the status of this.
      Thank you so much.

    • #12157 Reply
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      Rick

      Could I please get a status/email as well. I am working on my own motion (since I can not afford an attorney) and am hoping for some much needed guidance. I have sent several emails to the PA Justice Reform with no reply. Thank you for your time!

    • #12158 Reply
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      Amber

      I would like to know whats going on as well. This was not under agreement with my charges and I had contacted the public defender who handled my case and he doesnt know why I am on there. I had contacted the ACCLU I think thats what its called, and they sent a letter saying I can fight it but the public defender is saying theres nothng I can do. Is there anything happening with this in PA?

    • #12159 Reply
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      J

      Can I getta copy of that too I was forced into taking a plea bargain in fear of goin to jail for exchange of a 10 year registry and 3 years of probation so I took it with my public defender telling me id get something in the mail to tell me how to register never got it but got arrested for failure to register n did a nax sentence of 3 years and 3 years of probation came came home n took a polygraph test n passed it which proves I never did the crime that I was never questioned on just arrested n sentenced on they used scare tactics to get me to admit to something I didn’t do n because of the new law they through out my plea deal of 10 years n now I’m a life time offender n gotta register forever wtf

    • #12160 Reply
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      Michael

      I am no legal scholar, so don’t quote me on this, but I thought there was some kind of civil legal fund available to PA residents. 42 PaCS Ch. 49, which is set to expire on 11/01/2017, was set up “exclusively to provide civil legal assistance to poor and disadvantaged persons in this Commonwealth.” Might be something to look into.

    • #12161 Reply
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      Doug trautman

      Is PA JUSTICE REFORM active? I have spoken to David in the past but now have had no response from my emails. Are there,any other organizations in Pennsylvania helping RSO and can answer questions on issues?

    • #12162 Reply
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      Rodney Ferrer

      David apparently isn’t available anymore. Phone or email, where do we go now? I wish I could help out in any way possible.

    • #12163 Reply
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      NARSOL
      Admin

      Please contact our regional director for PA at richardm0955@yahoo.com.
      He can put you in touch with our PA contact person.

      Thanks.

    • #37816 Reply
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      Gerald goebert

      I visited the Megan’s registry site and viewed my entry this week.
      I am being shown an Offense Date of 10/1/1993 and a Conviction Date 2/14/1996.
      The offense was before the existence of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. At the time of conviction I had no registration requirements.
      NOW IT IS ON THE SITE !! I believe this constitutes retro action.

      Can anyone help me ?

      Jerry

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