Registry facing test in PA Supreme Court

By Angela Couloumbis

The landmark Pennsylvania law that for nearly a quarter of a century has required a public registry of sex offenders and community notification about their whereabouts is facing a life-or-death challenge before the state’s highest court.

Enacted nearly 25 years ago, Megan’s Law was hailed as a pivotal step toward making communities safer by empowering the public with information about where sex offenders live. Now, five separate cases before the state Supreme Court are attacking it as outdated, discriminatory, and unnecessarily cruel, depriving thousands of people of their fundamental rights.

The cases challenge nearly every aspect of the law, which has undergone several incarnations since being signed in 1995, one year after the death of 7-year-old Megan Kanka. The New Jersey girl was raped and killed by a neighbor who, unbeknownst to her family, was a twice-convicted pedophile. Similar laws were adopted across the United States and at the federal level.

Prosecutors believe the pending cases could gut Pennsylvania’s law, allowing sexually violent predators to evade detection and endangering public safety. They also warn that the law’s best-known aspect — the website that lists the thousands of offenders in the state — could be watered down or dismantled. In the last year alone, the website received 411 million page views, state records show.

Read the remainder of the piece here at the Inquirer

 

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    • #66186 Reply
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      Facts should matter

      “In the last year alone, the website received 411 million page views, state records show.”

      There is NO way in hell that’s an accurate number. Probably more like 5000 views – if that.

      Megan’s Law is not a legitimate public safety tool.

    • #66188 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      It is safe to say our government use of the database is facing a test.
      SOR is used to attack, at least I feel attacked via its use. It clearly works anti- liberty, denial of speech & compelled speech, denial of peaceful assembly, freedom to associate, live and work as other citizens, engage in intrastate travel without burden not attached to registration.

      All wrought via an unfettered, laze faire approach to data and database use.
      Who benefited most from that pre-decided approach? IMO, not the people.

    • #66193 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      @Facts should matter,
      The SOR databases are being, and have been subject to data mining operations. There’s all kinds of dark web operations underway as well. The use of the registries ” so victims can track” is BS. I’VE little doubt addresses of registered persons are fodder for marketing groups. That goes for the ” emergency contact” demanded by SOR forms.
      Thereby a false sense of “valid intended use” is generated. Website venues thrive on clicks, even misdirected clicks and accidental click counts as traffic. I’ll bet many surf the registries for purely entertainment purposes.

      Too few truly comprehend the precise nature of the database & infrastructure.
      IMO the numbers are nearly accurate, but not valid with respect to stated intent.

    • #66347 Reply
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      Mark

      The state is going off the deep end. Their precious scheme is under major attacks and they see it being killed. This article is for drumming up public support. The legislature came up with the Muniz decision fix and that got us two lists. All knee jerk reactions to a bad situation. I WAS on the list, Muniz got me off it. Been off for over a year. The Courts are finally realizing that the scheme the legislatures are coming up with is doing more harm than good and all the rhetoric is false. Even sex offenders have rights and some people just can’t deal with it.

    • #66360 Reply
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      Mark

      @Facts

      The number is probably close to that and I can tell you why.
      All these third party backgrounds check sites hit the website when someone does a search.
      And if someone uses multiple sites there will be multiple inquiries. The answer is simple but unwelcome. Shut down public access! Then all those sites are not hitting the site.

    • #66388 Reply
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      Matthew

      Is there any way to see any of the filings for this case? I would like to read the or arguments and rulings so far but I cannot even find the case name. Thoughts anyone?

    • #66416 Reply
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      Chan

      We all just need to stick together and fight this registry out. In all states to be free from this hell. This has got to end so we can remain human and not ghosts,monsters or demons any longer. I’m 24 on the registry inside of Louisiana and down here its harsh. All southern states are corrupted just as well as some up north. Push action south so we can begin our push to every direction possible. Talking about who the corrupt ones are on the registry topic, pointing out the obvious that being a registrant is hell. All that ad solves nothing. We live this life once. For whomever is punished with the cruel intentions of this registry. We need to take action now. Hiding in the shadows is putting this back from happening. Take back your lives and find peace. Personally I’ve had to learn how to not be in a state of constant panic or whatever else that hurts me in negative ways about the registry. Someday as a human I’ll die just like the rest but I want my life to remain at peace. To remain whole and not in fear every which way I turn. The same applies to whoever reads this comment. I hope this strikes hope for some who feel like they have none. Don’t give up on yourself because of this. We will crumble this wall and push forth to the life that is meant for us all to enjoy

    • #66422 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Some things we have to acknowledge:
      1) When it comes to those of us who have messed with someone’s little girl or little boy (I’m referring to the pre-teens) that right there alone gets us marked as no longer being fit for recognition as members of the human race. Many look upon that crime as worse than premeditated murder. The view only gets exponentially harsher when that offense is compounded by abduction and/or murder. That person is looked upon like a dangerous, rabid animal that must be put down forthwith. This is what people will NEVER move past. The simple fact that the act was committed is all that is relevant to most, especially the parents, friends, and family of the child victim.

      2) Once an older man or woman has sexual relations with an underage teen, they are then viewed as “dirty old men” or “slutty old women”. That is another thing society will never look past; even though in statutory rape scenarios it truly takes two to tango, else it would be literal rape. No parent wants to admit their “darling innocent little angel” would lie and misrepresent themselves for the express purpose of having sex with an adult. They don’t want to view their maturing children as sexual beings. They want to see them with the same innocence and naivete as a preteen. The older person they become sexually involved with will arbitrarily be viewed as an amoral pervert who corrupted their precious angel by the parents, family, and friends of the teen. Another viewpoint society will NEVER surrender.

      3) The ones who have forced themselves sexually on another adult (particularly a woman) are considered monsters, especially when weapons or extreme violence resulting in great bodily harm are involved. They are viewed as homicidal maniacs. That’s another perception people will NEVER move past.

      When we are challenging these laws or conditions of specialized sex offender supervision, we need to keep in mind the public sentiment driving these laws. A person’s children, spouse, sister, aunt, grandmother, etc. are another person’s heart and when harm comes, desire for the most severe of punishments will be there. Most people have the mentality of “You shot at me with a pistol, so I’m firing back with a bazooka.” They want to utterly destroy the one who hurt their loved ones. Would we feel any different if the shoe was on the other foot? Seriously. If the script was flipped and it was our mothers, our children, etc. being raped and sexually abused, would we feel the same exact way? Would we not want the one who caused the harm to pay for the rest of their lives?

      On “Registry Matters” Larry emphasizes time and time and time again that public sentiment drives legislation. The people are getting what they are demanding of their elected officials. I say when we are fighting these laws and restrictions, we’re also trying to fight the sentiment that drove their enactment and that is NEVER going to change.
      Those who have loved ones who have been sexually brutalized or children who have been sexually violated could care less about whether or not the one who abused their child or raped their loved one will ever re-offend. All that counts is we did it to one of theirs and for that alone we deserve all the public humiliation and life-crippling restrictions.

      We will NEVER win this fight on low recidivism statistics alone. We have to be able to make an airtight case of VIOLATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS THAT DO NOT GET WEAKENED BY VIRTUE OF CONVICTION OR SUPERVISED STATUS.

    • #66433 Reply
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      saddles

      Ok lets all get down to business on here. Yes a lot of this internet sex registry is a lot of crap. Sure it takes two to tango as WC said, and yes WC you made a good comment. And yes we all have certain inalienable rights. While much of this internet ordeal is a bit aregont and goes beyond principals of those men playing this ruse we all should speak up. NARSOL is doing their best in this issue. Would one liked to be typecasted for the worst thing they ever did in their life even if it were a spilled milk shake. Should one blame it on government. or being induced. Do we all error of our ways, or in judgement. Was this punishment or life time branding dreamed up by government to prevent or was it McGriff in taking a bite out of crime or a Smokey and the Bandit type of ordeal.

      Its not always about database or some computer Einstein at the controls. Its about people and liberty, and believe its no,t its not about the about peoples rights to be on facebook. Twenty years ago nobody ever heard of facebook but sex has been around since the dawn of time or is man still trying to overcome man in much of this registry issue.
      Nobody wants to live in fear or be labeled for life as a sexually violent person. That right there is infringing on another’s right. I’m sure we all have inalienable right or are we all created equal.

      I just received a letter from the secretary of commonwealth. and its a form for a pardon. Sure everything takes time. While I know NARSOL is in there for all involved in this registry issue and we all need all the help we can get, we all still need to stand up. Are we all sex offenders. Sure type in Harveys blog and read that article that was posted in 2016. I have meet the person as he lives about 30 miles from me and yes better is a little righteous than great reventue without right. So who has the bad ethics in prevention or are these registry schemes a type of witch hunt as we have all said at many times.

    • #66437 Reply
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      SupportOurConstitution

      Spot on, WC_TN.
      Well put.

      Only the original intentions founded and stated in our United States Constitution will overcome this.

      We must focus solely on USC based litigation tactics in our efforts to remove the registry..yet still fight the smaller battles (as does NARSOL and its affiliates so very well) until the blessed ending of the registry has come.

      The smaller victories should give us hope and a little more push to get through our day as those who have to live within this registry from day to day, as well as strengthen us to fight on the USC front in hopes of ending this.

      To our community, what we have done..or have been convicted of doing either via plea or trial..is forever repugnant in the nostrils of civil human society.
      …And frankly, should remain that way with an exception or two. (I’m referring to matured people finding love but there being an age difference between them. My great grandparents for instance.)

      But, as the RSO, we should always remember that we’ve been punished. We need not punish ourselves any longer.
      As Chen alluded to in another post to this article, we only get ONE chance to live this life.

      I have been living under the following standards and gladly suggest them to us all in order to make our one life count.

      -Love our friends, neighbors, and families…as we do ourselves.
      And get help..when overwhelmed with everything that we deal with..in order to do so.

      -Refuse to be the “little green man” in the rooms we enter in life. The thinking error that we have dictating to us saying, “Everyone knows what I’ve done.” Because they don’t. You’re old news now. Many…unfortunately…have taken your place in their memories.

      -Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Enjoy it. It might be our last.

      -Fight for the one who is being oppressed or wrongfully treated.

      -Do good, not evil.

      When our communities witness with their own eyes our behaviour, they will be more likely to support us as people. And the causes we champion. They just might even slay the monsters within our pasts…with their own sword of support of a new man or woman that they respect now.

      I have experienced this. It is possible.

      Stay strong, everyone. Don’t give up. Thank God we’re no longer watching life pass us by through a razor-wired fence.

      And live and enjoy…one day at a time.

    • #66678 Reply
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      Perry

      Take a good look at The Future Five Years from now:
      1.Vigilantes will be recognized as Legalized Law Enforcement ENHANCED Entities, specifically formed to go out and Hunt ALL OF US DOWN TO KILL US! Think it can’t or won’t happen? Watch! 2. Businesses that hire Sex Offenders-including SVP’s like Myself-will not be given the same Government Business Backed Assistance or Breaks like others that refuse to hire Us. In fact, it will become LAW that they CANNOT HIRE ANY OF US! Think it can’t happen? Watch! 3. Judges, DA’s, ADA’s, Police, State Police Troopers, County Sheriffs, and Constables will all be required to stop, frisk, and take ANY OF US into Immediate Custody just out of ‘Suspicion of Illegal Activity’ REGARDLESS OF INTENT OR LACK THEREOF! Think it can’t happen? Watch! 4. Prison Staff-regardless of who they are-now look up the records of anyone convicted of Sex Crimes-which is SUPPOSED TO BE ILLEGAL IF ONE IS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OR JAIL OFFICER-but here in Pennsylvania, IT HAS AND CONTINUES TO HAPPEN. Hence, the reason Multiple ‘Sanctioned Murders’ will occur and currently are by the way, in ALL Pennsylvania Prisons Statewide. Think it can’t happen? IT IS! And finally 5. Any Politician that backs eradicating The Registry entirely; will be subjected to, the most intense ridicule, slander, and Public Assault on their Person and or Family. Thereby forcing them to change their positions in order to give The Bloodthirsty Public, what they want. SANCTIONED MURDER OF US!
      This is no different than The Jim Crow Laws of not too long ago in The Slave Economic Driven Deep South. Black Men like me today, are facing that exact mentality yet again. And you CANNOT make me believe otherwise, so don’t try. Only now, it’s applied to ALL OF US REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY!! Here’s something else to consider too: IF ANY ONE of These Politicians’ Children commit the same kinds of Offenses any of us have, DO YOU REALLY THINK, they’ll get the same treatment that WE DO? OF COURSE NOT!!! They’ll come up with some kind of Multiple Deal, for every time any of theirs does something, and NEVER WILL THEIRS FACE PRISON TIME OR REGISTRY REQUIREMENTS!!! For that matter; IF ANY OF THEM, commit a Sex Offense-and we know how THAT GOES-NONE OF THEM will go through what the rest of us already do! They will NEVER SUFFER! So Yeah, NARSOL, keep fighting for Us, because YOU KNOW THEY WANT US DEAD!!!
      Think None of this can happen? I pray None of it does, but some of it’s happening NOW! Believe it or not!!

    • #66757 Reply
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      Maestro

      WC_TN

      The way I feel this thing should be (if we cannot get the registry abolished) is that in ALL states when your time with the DOC ends (probation and/or parole) then that is the end of your punishment completely and should also be the end of your registration requirements.
      As it stands currently (like in Connecticut) the minimum time on the registry is 10 yrs (depending on the severity of the offense). This means that even if your probation is only for 5 yrs and you complete it and are no longer the “property” of the DOC, you still have to complete the remaining 5 yrs of the registry.
      This needs to change. When your probation ends, the registration should end. And that’s the end of the entire punishment.
      It makes no sense to keep a person on the registry passed their probation/parole or for life because that just proves that the purpose of the “corrections” hasn’t “corrected” us. That we haven’t learned our lesson.
      It takes several times to be a DUI to have your license permanently revoked. It takes only 1 time to forever be branded as a sexual offender. Where is the logic in this?

    • #66788 Reply
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      Ed

      Yes, I’ve been researched by PA DOC officer, and he passed that information on to my cellie the first week I was in.

    • #66838 Reply
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      WC_TN

      Maestro, there’s one problem with registration lasting the duration of post-confinement supervision. Some registrants like myself live in states where post-confinement supervision is for LIFE EVEN AFTER FLATTENING A PRISON SENTENCE, so your way would be leaving folks like myself on the registry the remainder of their lives.

      NM also has a lifetime supervision law that kicks in after the prison sentence has been served in its entirety. I listen to “Registry Matters” and if I heard it correctly, Larry says a lawsuit is being crafted to challenge post-confinement lifetime supervision in NM.

      Lifetime post-confinement supervision sets one up to have mitigated rights for the remainder of their lives. In reality, when one lives in a state with these lifetime supervision laws, one who commits a qualifying offense gets two separate and distinct punishments for the same crime, which on the surface would seem to be a violation of the double jeopardy clause. As I understand it, the double jeopardy clause not only prevents one for being tried by the same entity for the same crime twice, but also prohibits multiple punishments for the same crime. Make no mistake about it, lifetime supervision IS PUNISHMENT. It is automatically triggered by X or Y offense and never takes into consideration the individual’s continued dangerousness OR LACK THEREOF. Those subject to lifetime post-confinement supervision are forever barred from activities all other citizens and even other convicted felons get to enjoy, all of which truly have NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE. Lifetime supervision is not just a “collateral consequence” of conviction, it is triggered by and a direct result thereof.

    • #66866 Reply
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      Saddles

      WC after reading these posts again I’m sure anyone on the registry that is caught up in something like this would be very upset. I have two more yrs. to go on my probation and even my PO told me a year or so ago that after my probation thats it but than again I wonder after hearing your all’s comments.

      Yes after probation or incarceration that should be it if the punishment fits the crime or who is doing evil in a lot of this internet game. Yes, WC it takes two to tango in any situation or who is the “Ma Barker” sorry Sandy in much of this ordeal One would have to believe authorities in many ways. Sure we all can have a play on words but who is playing with human intervention in many or much of this sex registry game.

      Don’t get this wrong prevention is good if done in the right way. Things like via this internet situation is not the right way as authorities have found a way to use this unconstitutionally.This megan kanka thing was a shock but now authorities are inducing anyone via this internet device with this covetousness to trick one. That in itself is immoral.

      Yes governments can make laws but its people like you and organizations like NARSOL that can speak up to make a different. Two wrongs don’t make a right so who is just as guilty as who in all this enticement.

    • #66889 Reply
      Avatar
      Saddles

      I like all these view’s and comments on here but can anyone tell us “why” they do these internet ordeals and if so who are they proving or preventing with this prevention method for one to come on down and enjoy a teenager. I’m sure we all would like answers or some common ground to ponder on this issue. While everything has its place even true values but America seems to be lost and there seems to be no true justice today.

      Sure due process if good if it gets to that stage as a lot of us commented on in another article, and yes due process is part of liberty but taking a closer look who is doing evil for evil gain in one’s vocation is another matter. Sure one can wield the sword but there is always a correct way. For ministers of God it seems setting one up is the right way in America. Provoking evil only provokes with this carnal enticement via the internet. Isn’t that how war’s start.

      We all need some concrete answers to why those civil servants are abusing their positions and also abusing others in this enticement. The truth has to come out.

    • #67004 Reply
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      Dave C

      Hello My brothers….

      What is interesting is that they are creating new websites because they know the PA Website is going down. Check out offenderradar.com. It has all my information on it. I am pre 2012 and it has all my pictures and info. PA has given all of our information to them because they know the PA is about to go down. Even if the PA supreme court crushes it. They will appeal it to US Supreme court for a few more years of delay. They take the time and create some new ACT XX to take its place.

      Its unconstitutional.
      Its punitive.
      and it seems like it will never end.

    • #67434 Reply
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      Maestro

      Any word on what’s happening with this?

    • #67754 Reply
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      Brian

      @Dave C
      Offender radar has been out for a couple years actually, there is an entire list of websites that collect us as a mater of fact, I was let off the registry due to judicial determination near the end of 2018, they kept my information on their website, until I threatened to sue them, which I would have, also I think the fact that I was no longer on the registry anymore, google will keep your information posted as well, after a year it was gone, if a website posts old information, after you’ve been removed, or laws remove certain things, like employment addresses and such, it is illegal I believe.

    • #67797 Reply
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      Chris

      I’m a Tier 1 offender and my crime was committed in Pennsylvania back in 2013 and was predatorily forced to plead guilty that was not a violent crime nor was any human being involved. My crime was an accident, I never touched anyone one! And get in jail and in prison I was called pedophile, rapist and a child molestor. These people did not know me from a bar or soap. Now, what I’m getting at is this sex offender registry was created to track violent predators in cases where a child was raped and murdered or molested. Yet, us people who know for a fact we are the ones who would never harm a child ever are on this registry. I knew a guy in prison who urinated in public at 3am by a van, and now has to register for twenty five years as a sex offender. How effed up is this system?!!. I’m working on a Nunc Pro Tunc for removal from SORNA. I’m also an Honorably discharged veteran of the US Army. Help me! If there’s anyone in PA who could help pro bono I’d really appreciate it. Let’s get our lives back!!!! Time Now!

    • #67991 Reply
      Avatar
      Brian

      @Chris
      Originally, the registry was designed for people like the people who raped and killed Megan K, Jacob W and Adam W, it has obviously sprawled way out of control, it’s not for anyone’s protection now, it’s used for political gain and money for the states, I was let off the registry the end of 2018 by judicial determination. I was never ordered by the courts to register, 1997 my girl friend was 17 and I was 19, 100% consensual, my crime wasn’t a crime, not violent or anything considered illegal, I was 3 years older and she was under 18, being 3 years older and her being under 18, was considered a crime though by law, I served 3 years probation on a deferred sentence, all charges and my record were supposed to go away, as long as I completed all of the requirements, which I did, 2003 a detective showed up at my home, telling me I had to go to the psp and register, 14 years later, after my reputation was ruined, and everyone knows who I am, I hired a lawyer, got ripped off by the first one, I hired another one who did me justice, not sure an attorney would help pro bono, but you never know. Terry Brunson, a friend of mine knows these laws inside out, he is on his way to PASC and is PROSE, meaning acting as his own attorney, You are under SORNA unfortunately, a different animal, if you were charged 2012 or under, it would be easier to fight, but you were charged in 2013, one or two cases I believe are going to PASC to fight SORNA, they will be appealed win or loose and go to SCOTUS, Where Jose Muniz won the battle for presorna registrants, I was presorna, began as tier1 10 year, was about to be let off in 2013 but then they passed the AWA in 2012, then I was changed to tier2 and my time was upped to 15 year, once the Muniz decision went down in 2017, the general assembly passed HB1952, trying to bring back law that was expired and then ACT10 and ACT29 were put into law, in those laws they try to say, if your an out of state offender, which I was, then you have to register for the other states equivalent of what the PA law is, they tried to tell me I would then have to register for life, so I hired an attorney at that point, tired of being pushed around. Hope these guys fighting at the PASC will do some good for everyone..

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