Reply To: PA’s high court rules retroactive SORNA violates constitution

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Brenda Jones

I was thrilled to see this win! It has been so long in coming — we first heard about a challenge as far back as 2014, so it has taken a long time to make its way to a decision. Glad it was worth the wait.

I’ll be very curious to see if PA does any better at following the court’s orders than my own state of Maryland did. Here, after a similar decision, the state didn’t even want to take the plaintiff off! When they were forced to do that, then they tried to come back and argue that they still needed to list him because the feds said his offense must be on THEIR registry.

Wrong, wrong wrong! There IS NO federal registry: it is only a grouping of all the different state ones. We successfully fought that and got an even stronger ruling that said the feds had NO separate registry and our state laws trumped the federal law. And not only Mister Doe should come off, but “all others so situated.” That took an additional 18 months or so. And even now, several years later, the state is STILL dragging its feet on some people who should have been removed or rolled back to their original registration terms.

So here’s hoping that PA moves more quickly – I am hopeful because this ruling appears to be much stronger and clearer.