PA cannot require registration of juvenile offenders rules PA Supreme Court

By Jerry B . . . In 2006, Defendant  Zeno committed two delinquent acts that occurred when he was age 14 and 16. Because of the nature of the two acts, his case was transferred from juvenile court to adult criminal court where he pled guilty to rape of a child, sexual assault, criminal attempt (rape), criminal attempt (incest), and indecent assault. The trial court sentenced him to an aggregate sentence of four to eight years’ incarceration followed by five years’ probation, and informed him that he would be required to register as a sex offender. In August of 2017, Zeno was found guilty of violating the terms of his probation and parole and was sentenced to 2 to 10 years of incarceration. 

Zeno challenged the registration based on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Ruling in In Re J.B.,107 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2014) that “SORNA’s registration requirements improperly brand all juvenile offender’s reputations with an indelible mark of a dangerous recidivist even though the irrebuttable presumption linking adjudication of specified offenses with a high likelihood of recidivating is not ‘universally true.’ . . . The application of SORNA’s current lifetime registration requirements upon adjudication of specified offenses violates juvenile offenders’ due process rights by utilizing an irrebuttable presumption.” 

The Commonwealth, however, argued that since Zeno was tried in criminal court rather than Juvenile Court, he was eligible for registration as a sex offender. 

A panel of Superior Court justices disagreed with the Commonwealth and ruled that because Zeno was a juvenile when he committed the crimes, he does not have to register as a sex offender. In Re J.B. applies to him. See the decision here.

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    • #72976 Reply
      Joshua Novak

      I was 13 when I committed a crime under PA’s old Megan’s Law 2… I was arrested at age 19, and made a Svp… After Haines was decided in 2019, I sought Pro-se State Habeas Corpus Relief.. in February 2020, I was also removed, in light of Commonwealth vs Haines….

    • #72987 Reply
      Tim in WI

      Josh N,
      Good to read you’ve found relief from registration by utilizing the system provided by our devine inspired founders. While I’ve yet to seek relief by similar means; I have done very well confronting the registry (WI) in the context of felony failure to provide information ( registering) cases before a jury. The only one time I lost (2011) was an effort to get certain facts into the record for a potential but inevitable state appellate review. I recently finished up another FTR last August dismissed by prosecutors motion. Putting SOR agent on the stand is quite cathartic as experiences go. More men should be making efforts like you, using the system provided.

    • #73013 Reply
      Jill RT

      This is great news for both Zeno and Joshua! The brain doesn’t even fully develop until the twenties and the judicial system has been unduly harsh on many young men and women.
      Make the best with what you have now! Your freedom!

    • #73033 Reply

      A famous book we all know about says this: ‘The Love of Money is The Root of All Evil!’ Federal, State and Local Legislators ALL LOVE MONEY! So do Judges, D.A.’s and A.D.A.’s. Law-Enforcement too. There’s corruption EVERYWHERE in this so-called ‘Judicial System’. So once again, it’s going to take a handful of Downright Honest Attorneys and Law Firms that want to see Real Right being done, to assist in attacking The Registry to Eradicate it completely. Look. Every Candidate will say the ‘Right Things’, until they get Voted into Office, then nearly all of them turn a blind eye to Our Problems and Our Concerns, because they want to keep their position. We need to let them all know that they can be Voted Out just as Quickly as they were Voted in when they don’t do what they say they will when it comes to Our Rights! Get ready for ‘Civil War II’. It just might come down to that!!

    • #73799 Reply

      If only i could use this supreme court ruling in the state of AZ

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