This topic contains 43 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Ray 3 months ago.
March 4, 2019 at 9:28 am #52812
By Larry . . . We are excited to report that registrants in Pennsylvania now will have a new vehicle to challenge sex offender registration. The Unite
[See the full post at: Appeals court provides new vehicle to challenge registration]
March 4, 2019 at 3:05 pm #52827
Robin Vander WallAdmin
Great job, Larry. Excellent analysis and easy to follow. Thank you.
March 4, 2019 at 9:24 pm #52832
You may be correct but given that the Commonwealth was denied Petition for Certiorari on Muniz and the court referenced Muniz in their opinion. It may seem hard to believe that it will get to SCOTUS. Or then again could this be a door to kill SNORA.
March 5, 2019 at 6:53 am #52851
It’s such a hard concept to even imagine any of this going away in any way. I was designated to be an SVP for invasion of privacy and there were no minors involved. My sentence in actually considered an illegal sentence now, but apparently the legislation states that illegal sentences will stand for some crazy reason. My case is actually the only one of it’s kind in the state (so I got to win that lottery in hell). It only seems as though everything gets worse and worse with this stuff so I’m not getting my hopes up on anything. So many people are more concerned about punishment than doing what actually makes sense. Actual therapy and rehabilitation makes sense; not multiple life sentences for a misdemeanor (like in my case). I really hope things change for the better, but I have a feeling it won’t happen in my lifetime an I’m only 36.
March 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm #52885
Terrific synopsis, Larry. Thank you for taking the time to write it.
But as one sans the legal mind and knowledge you have, I’m left wondering what all of this actually means. Obviously, you can’t predict the future but there is one line in your piece that with some clarification, I think, could some up a potential future one way or the other.
“,,,and it therefore can support habeas corpus jurisdiction.”
Does supporting this jurisdiction imply that SORNA restricts liberty without due process therefore is unconstitutional?
March 5, 2019 at 8:52 pm #52905
Sort of, the court merely established ” which standard of proof was needed to re incarcerate ” based on criminal sexual related crime. The states have insisted ( via act preamble) civil intent of registration. Incarceration is intended and viewed by courts as punishment. Registrant won the day because a lower standard was used then necessary to re-jail.
March 20, 2019 at 4:44 pm #53575
Had dual reporting, a botch job by prosecutor and public defender on first registration trap. (already charge free for 9 years) all to “move” the sex offender from community supervision life to parole supervision life. 49 days ago was re-sentanced by legislative error? I know what the judges said. Watch how in camera will disapear. Woops, public defenders office will not represent me. I have witnesses too.
March 6, 2019 at 7:34 am #52914
When it comes to legal matters, I always need Legal for Dummies 101, but I think I have this right.
To ask for a habeas hearing, one must be in custody.
Therefore, one who is “just” on the registry has never been able to ask for a habeas hearing as he or she is not in custody.
This decision is that being on the registry is a form of being in custody.
Therefore, if one “just” on the registry is deemed to be in custody, then he or she can ask for habeas relief.
It opens a means of appeal that they didn’t previously have to registrants who have completed all of their sentences .
March 6, 2019 at 12:53 pm #52927
The court st determined PA registrants are being subjected to unlawful incarceration via state’s use of the revocation process to jail sex offender on extended SOR supervision. The court recognized PA sex offender registration regime as “worthy of habius” because “the terms of PA registration law” are custody. Being compelled to ” show up” physically is a restraint upon liberty.
It is the “having control of the body” that counts for habeas. PA registration regime now meets ( has risen too, by lawmakers choices) that standard.
You seem a bit confused that ALL ex post registrants may NOT utilize the same vehicle precisely because not all suffer the same deprivation of liberty.
Each state has its own laws, but most states do not impinge upon liberty the same ways, or by the same means ( revocation processes). Those on plain registration obligations only, do not suffer like the guy here.
March 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm #53061
All states are unconstitutional. They all have rules that require RSO’s to be under their thumb. Can’t go or do anything unless they say that you are allowed. I understand that they are trying to protect the public but I believe they should only have offenders register for 5-10 years. After the 5-10 years is over then it’s over. No more registry, no more public file. The police would have their information on their file if an offender was to reoffend, however I dont know of any sex offenders that I have met who would reoffend. Most people who reoffend do so because of the registry. They cant find a job or housing or have the public ridicule them that they feel jail is the safest place for them. Really bad sex offenders will reoffend within that 5-10 years. So they are the ones to watch.
April 12, 2019 at 10:04 pm #54438
I think the rigisty should be 3 tier 10 year 15 year and life. let them work there way up first time on the offense 10 year no mater what the offense, if reoffend then go to 15 year and work down to 10 year. life let them work down to 15 year then down to 10 year then out, now start at the top and a lot of us are locked in for life.
May 8, 2019 at 10:34 am #55407
So it sounds like I would fit into this category.
I never served time for a misdemeanor offense, did 1 year un-reporting probation, but must register for 15 years with an annual in-person registration and in-person notifications of residence change or international travel.
So because I am not in jail or on probation, I’m not technically ‘in-custody’ and cannot apply for relief as the registry is civil in nature and not punitive (according to legal standards).
From what I understand, this case is basically trying to say that because I am compelled to be at a certain place, at a certain time to register or face prosecution, while the general public is not required to, that puts me as technically being ‘in-custody’ and eligible for a habeus corpus relief petition? But wouldn’t that also make the registry punitive by default as well? If you’re still ‘in-custody’ as a result of a criminal conviction by being required to show up to a place and register in person, while the general public is not, does that not make the registry an extension of your sentence and therefor punitive?
I would think with the right person articulating the case and backing it up with the appropriate case law, it should simply be a matter of time before the courts can no longer deny the Sex Offender Notification and Registration Act is simply punitive in nature. It’s preventing rehabilitation by stigmatizing part of the population and giving everyone a list of people not to associate with or employ because our government has deemed them and labeled them as a threat.
March 6, 2019 at 11:39 am #52917
Great job Larry! Your article was very clear and informative.
Although I have learned that hopes can easily be dashed in our judicial system, the decision represents yet another small crack in the egg. This question was one of “standing” to raise a habeas challenge; that is whether the term custody encompasses those who are merely on the registry. If registration constitutes custody, and custody is traditionally a form of punishment, then it follows logically that registration is punishment. The courts, including the Supreme Court, are not in agreement as to when registration becomes so restrictive that it constitutes punishment “in effect”, if not in stated legislative intent..
This certainly has implications in the ex post facto context, which has been a common claim to challenge registration impositions. However the question of punishment also raises the possibility of other attacks, including cruel and unusual punishment (c.f. Millard v. Rankin, now on appeal in the 10th Circuit), and bills of attainder.
March 7, 2019 at 2:19 pm #53004
So with this, does it only apply to those who were sentenced under state courts? What about those who were given sentence under Federal courts and court martial’s? How, if it becomes shown under a SCOTUS that it DOES constitute a denial of freedom’s, where does one start to begin the process to appeal or even try and get off the registry? I am a court martial guy that was forced into agreement for my “” Crime””. I just want to get off of this nightmare and move out of the US ASAP!!! I am glad to see the ball rolling, albeit slowly, but it only takes 1 action to make an avalanche!! Good luck everyone!!
March 7, 2019 at 5:51 pm #53017
Habeas petitions to the federal courts are governed by 28 USC 2254 for those in state custody, and 28 USC 2255 for persons in federal custody. Each very specifically uses the identical term “custody.” The Third Circuit has determined that the Pennsylvania registration statute constitutes custody for habeas purposes. It is a pretty safe assumption that the decision also applies to those sentenced in federal courts. Jurisdiction for military courts martial is an extension of federal jurisdiction, so the answer to your question is probably “yes”.
I’m not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that a person can’t be prosecuted in both a court martial and in federal court for the same crime without invoking double jeopardy. However, one could be tried in a state court because they are different sovereigns. Does anybody know definitively if my statement is correct?
March 7, 2019 at 8:20 pm #53025
I wrote one using 2241 but they might revoke my parole if I file it so its collecting dust.
March 7, 2019 at 6:22 pm #53020
Hi , I just to thank you for the work those of you are doing on behalf of sex offenders
It is like the most awful thing to come about in my lifetime
My son became addicted to porn on the internet
He then was convicted for child porn
He was an electrical engineer .. a veteran of the Army Rangers and the most incredible Son a Mom could ask for
He is in Prison now for 54 months and will be a registered sex offender
The US is all about retaliation not rehabilitation
Ii hope this will become more and more outbin the open as to how hateful this is to human beings
March 7, 2019 at 8:20 pm #53022
This is hopeful news! I have sent about 7 letters about this issue to the POTUS. I get down letters back. Arlene, the same thing happened to my son. In AZ, he got 14 years. W are crushed. He’s on his second year.
March 8, 2019 at 6:43 am #53054
He received 14 years for underage porn? I hope you’re appealing. Unbelievable. Then again, a guy in Texas received 100 years for pictures. I am pretty sure terrorists and some murders haven’t received as much. The mindless Stupidity is strong in this country. Slowly but surely cases are being won which provide legal precedent to attack this slavery scheme.
March 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm #53070
It is vastly more about political security. As if your sons masturbation tendencies ( or any man’s) is a worthy threat to the harmony of the people. Pure propaganda!
It is more about the use of bad guy databases to lend credibility to LEO’s ability to protect the public, before law breaking occurs, through the implementation of electronic monitoring.
What big data brokers fear most is the people’s rejection of their devices. (North Carolina v Grady on GPS) It is the big data brokers that generate enormous profit from free or inexpensive input from users. A few have “mainlined” data input by law from those unwilling to divulge private information ( like me) and likely probable to see a felony case arise from it. There are currently ” electronic kiosks” in most county nails utilizing facial recognition software to make electronic lists of known bad guys. The lists will be used to control voting. To pretend “the vote itself” is not under threat by electronic nefarious behaviour is grossly negligent and irresponsible.
March 7, 2019 at 8:20 pm #53023
Its been used to free slaves, indentured servants and minors who lied about their age to enlist in the military.
Seems quite fitting to me.
March 7, 2019 at 8:43 pm #53035
Great post and thank you. Certainly this ruling is applicable in the 3rd Circuit and those states that are included in its jurisdiction. It could be cited on federal habeas cases as well. I happen to be in one of the few states(GA and WV) that do not consider even parole or probation “custody”, and you cannot file a state habeas while not being incarcerated, so you need to file for federal relief which consider p and p a restraint of liberty. These states have determined, contrary to the other 48 states, that the definition of custody only includes incarceration. Of course this is a way to moot many habeas cases by simply prolonging the cases in court long enough for the inmate to be released on parole.
I agree with others the implications of this are broad, especially the non-penal mandate of the registry is now considered custody, aka punishment. This may be a game changer, I hope.
March 7, 2019 at 10:25 pm #53040
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. How does one overcome the 1 year limitation period when a registrant has not gone through the state appellate process to the state’s highest court for the 1 year clock to run? I can’t see just simply filing a federal 2254 Habe, and a federal district court will just blithely accept it. Can some light be shed on this?
March 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm #53063
You raise important questions, Mark. Unless I missed it, I’m not certain that there is a 1-year limitation for a 2254 motion. That time limit is specified in section 2255. However, the 2254 requirement for exhausting state remedies appears absolute, i.e. “shall not be granted….” ADEPA was not adopted to widen the habeas doorway, but to narrow it. The burden of proof is on the filer, not the government, and the standard of proof is very high. “The applicant shall have the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence.”
Habeas petitions are loathed by the courts, which are reluctant to disturb the finality of a decision. Even a merit-less or frivolous motion takes some amount of judicial resources to deny. Courts are inundated with habeas motions, which are usually written by inmates themselves. It is difficult to maintain legal objectivity, and avoid hopeful thinking, when it is your life on the line. A habeas petition is a person’s last legal gasp, and one has little to lose in filing. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Laws never change unless we challenge them.
Although I believe everyone with a valid habeas claim should file, we must try to analyze own our cases objectively. Baseless filings only increase the courts already-jaded viewpoints of habeas motions, which decreases the chances of seminal motions, such as this one, from even being seriously considered.
March 8, 2019 at 6:43 am #53053
This sounds like great news…but, I am rather ignorant in legal jargon…
Does anyone know how this might affect RSO’s in Alabama…. …oooohhh corrupt Alabama!!
March 8, 2019 at 10:54 pm #53079
Thank you for your response Ed. A 2254 has a one year time limit once the state’s highest court rules. This is for state prisoners. ADEPA kicks in as soon as the state highest court sends the re-script, and it is docketed out. Time begins. So, a determination must be made to see how a registered citizen can file without the one year imposition. If as the third circuit has stated the limited liberty etc., the case appeared to allow the filing. However, the Commonwealth will most like file for en banc, then a cert….. If it goes that far, I think SCOTUS will grab it because of the third circuit far reaching decision. Thank you again for your response sir.
March 9, 2019 at 3:32 pm #53103
Mark, I suspect this custody decision will trump any time limitation period. Until now, those on the registry had an “affirmative disability” (I believe that is the term) to filing a habeas petition. As you know, prosecutors live, eat and breathe legal loopholes. There are quite a few they could argue, whether successfully or not.
For instance, if a person was released on supervision while simultaneously required to register, there was nothing stopping him from filing a habeas motion contesting registration issues. Registration “harm” attached at the time registration was initially required. Release from probation would not now terminate custody status, but would merely be a continuation of custody. Previous to this decision custody status did change. Even though I was still in BOP custody, I had to register upon arrival at a halfway house, which is when any harm began.
Prosecutors are “tricksy hobbitssses”, and this decision probably raises more questions than it answers. It is important to think like the enemy, and preempt where possible without alerting him to things he may have overlooked. If I were in PA, I’d file as quickly as possible. One year from the decision date might be too late.
I’m still not certain whether the time limitation in section 2255 applies to section 2254–“A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section.” Note the last three words. Also apologies for my initial typo. AEDPA is the proper acronym, not ADEPA.
March 13, 2019 at 7:34 pm #53251
The one year limitation is stated in 28 U.S.C. 2244(d)(1) and not in section 2254, as it is for a 2255 motion. Any doubts I had regarding a 2254 time limit have been resolved.
March 9, 2019 at 3:32 pm #53105
Freddie, I’m sorry to say the decision has no direct effect on registrants outside of PA or the Third Circuit. Alabama is in the 11th. However, the decision could be used by others to help persuade courts to make a similar determinations. Even an opposite decision in other circuits is not a loss. If enough people in enough circuits create different decisions, the Supreme Court may be inclined to step in to sort it out. A “circuit split” around a clearly constitutional issue is prime fodder for that Court.
This decision was only about whether Piasecki could get his foot in the door. He can. A district court now has jurisdiction to consider the habeas motion. We still must await that court’s decision on the merits of his claims, which may decide his issues are bogus.
March 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm #53057
Great job explaining this case Larry. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it gains traction in our favor.
I’d be tempted to try this in NC as well. I was originally sentenced to register for 10 years as a Sexual Offender, and could then apply to be removed from the registry. I registered my first time on April 26, 2004. as instructed, as a Sexual Offender, and began my reporting in person to do so every six months thereafter. On my seven year RSO anniversary, in April of 2011, I was told I was now classified as a Recidivist, and would be required to register for life, and report in person every 90 days. I have continued to do so since then, after no luck in fighting it briefly with an attorney at the outset. NC has similar restrictions as PA.
Paul Dubbeling—or you reading this post? (smile)
March 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm #53060
Great news Larry,
I live in Pa, and I have been writing to everyone I know about what had happened to my grandson 5 years ago, going on 6. I know the system is not right. I have proof of what happened in Court of Law that was said to have happened during same time. So it was not true! Just recently, I wrote a letter to a familiar Lawyer in Bucks County asking him for help. I had asked him to review what I was saying and the evidence that I had. I hope and pray that this Lawyer reviews my evidence, and that what is going on with this case causes change.
Thank you Larry for doing all that you do.
I think NARSOL is one of the best things that had happened to me during all this demise.
March 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm #53129
This sounds like so hope. I am on registery ex post facto , not on my judgment and sentence. Was not even
Required of me by the time my parole was over. Unfortunate my state waited 19 yrs after I finished parole to inform me I have to register for 20 yrs, I truly believe (and not just because I’m on registry) that I am deprived of liberty. All I can do is pray and hope one of these court cases is a breakthrough for all who need relief.
March 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm #53136
I have a family member that was falsely accused and convicted and subsequently required to register. Seeing firsthand the mechanisms at play and how this person was railroaded by the system turned my stomach. It’s easy for them to make a scene to fit the requirements of conviction for the laws they pass and and make you the perpetrator of the fantasy they created and punish you for this so-called crime.
When Mike Ramos was defeated in the primaries last year I had hope. But the truth is RSOs are a platform either party and most people will easily unite against. It’s an easy sway for voters who will never see the mechanisms enacted by Mary Marsys Meagan Melvin Mulvanny or Murphy’s law. They just see a tragic story and a face and vote based on emotion. Ramos is still pushing for more states to adopt Marsys law.
Where do we go from here?
March 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm #53137
I would like to start a movement. There is about 44000 people here in Michigan having to register. Why can we do what the LGBT did. What the African Americans did hecht even the illegal aliens are doing. The only way to change court opinion is to change public opinion. Why not organize a march
March 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm #53150
Good point Kenneth. There are some corollaries to the gay rights movement. Registration deals with a reviled population, whose members feel more comfortable in the shadows. In spite of mounting evidence, misconceptions regarding danger abound. Politicians can gain traction through vilification. Ignorance is rampant. Hopefully registrants will one day have their version of a Stonewall moment or a Lawrence v Texas decision.
March 11, 2019 at 1:36 pm #53143
The crux of the problem is whether registration is merely a civil regulatory measure–like highway speed laws–, or a punitive action. In Smith v. Doe (2003) , the Supreme Court determined that Alaska’s registration scheme was civil in nature, and thus did not violate ex post facto. Registration is considered a valid regulatory measure to promote public safety.
Since then registration laws have provided increasingly punitive restrictions on liberty. There is now a huge body of research indicating recidivism is not “frightening and high”, but surprisingly low. Registration not being punishment, and high recidivism were the two pillars underlying that 2003 decision. One day, the Court will have to revisit its analysis. This Third Circuit decision doesn’t address those issues, but provides an alternative jurisdictional vehicle to a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Another circuit court proceeding to watch is Millard v Rankin, where a federal district judge declared Colorado’s SORNA implementation unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment. The government appealed, and is pressing hard for reversal at the Tenth Circuit.
March 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm #53156
does anyone know of attorneys in Pa that would handle this? Live in Erie and have several interested in filing, and can we file as a group or is it individual? Seems my P.O. is always adding more on me and I have done nothing wrong, finished all my programs, and have done very well for myself considering, but that doesn’t seem to account for anything.
March 16, 2019 at 3:55 pm #53427
What i know is how can anyone be made to register (punish) for a crime the person MIGHT commit? If that is so then anyone especially those with any criminal history can be made to register for a crime they MIGHT commit. If those on the registry are supposedly this high of a danger to the public then why do they release them from prison & jail?
March 20, 2019 at 7:09 am #53543
Hello i found some interesting information on the Doj they have a report stating recidivism rates are 3.5% and yet don’t say anything about but yet it is on there website for anyone to see & it’s on Smart.gov website almost identical report 3.5% I don’t understand why then is the registry is still up n running?
March 26, 2019 at 7:47 am #53844
It’s because that’s all just a cover anyway. When a person finds a way to meet their requirements “satisfactorily” they still pull rank and rewrite the books. They don’t actually want anyone to appear to be “rehabilated”. They want numbers and horror stories to scare the public into passing stricter laws.
Some of the big 4 and 5 term DAs got pushed out last year, including Mike Ramos. But the whole system is entrenched, cops, public defenders, and judges included. The bad karma they’ve been spreading is now coming back to haunt them. A vindictive system is short sighted, looking only to keep enacting a vicious cycle.
As the world changes so too will the people when they see the horror they’ve allowed to grow. For now find volunteer work and build your rep that way. Continue to learn new things. Seek help from family and any good friends. Don’t lose hope.
March 23, 2019 at 9:30 pm #53751
I recently graduated from a trade school in Pennsylvania with an associates for Automotive Technician, but I can’t get a job anywhere, no one wants to hire me because I’m on Megan’s list, though I should have been removed from the list but I haven’t been. When I was convicted back in 2001 it was in the military under a General Court martial and I got a BCD because of it. At the time I was under a 10 year sentence on Megan’s list which started in 2003 when I was released from the Brig. Over time I have lived in Micigan and Pennsylvania and in MI I was upgraded to 25 years on the list, I move back to PA but got into some trouble and was sent to prison for a megans law violation, which I served the 2.5 years and got out in March 2012. Before my release date that shit bag PA gov’ signed Sorna but it wasn’t put into action until the end of 2012. I went in PA from 10 year to 25 then over some time was again changed to 15 years, with my time in the PA state pen the would add 2.5 ish years, which would put my release date to 2020 but I should be pushed back to a 10 year which would put it to 2015 but I think they screwed me because they switched me to out of state status and not 10 year. So even though I should be released from Megan’s list now I’m not, and even though I am trying to become a decent member of society by getting a trade, I can’t practice because I am still on this list.
I had over ten job interviews, some in person and some over the phone, its all the same.
May 28, 2019 at 7:14 am #56231
You cannot do time on the registry while in jail or Prison, In other words, your time on the registry stops the minute you enter jail or prison and your time doesn’t restart until you are out. I do know Megan’s Law Unit of the PSP is still review the files of those they believe may be impacted by the Pa Supreme Court’s decision in Commonwealth v Muniz. Hang in there, brother. They should be finishing up soon.
March 28, 2019 at 8:32 am #53923
The term is flexible and may mean actual imprisonment or the mere power—legal or physical—of imprisoning or assuming manual possession. A petitioner must be “in custody” to be entitled to Habeas Corpus relief, which provides for release from unlawful confinement in violation of constitutional rights. Custody in this context is synonymous with restraint of liberty and does not necessarily mean actual physical imprisonment. Persons who are on Probation or who are released on their own recognizance are “in custody” for purposes of habeas corpus proceedings.
March 29, 2019 at 9:11 pm #53986
I am hoping someone can help me. I pled guilty in 2002 to 1 count of transmission of the name of a minor via interstate commerce. I have been on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law site since February 4th, 2004. I was to be a Tier 1 registrant for a period of 10 years. With the passage of Sorna, I am not quite sure what is happening now. I am still listed on the site as of today, 3/29/2019. I have contacted the State Police ML Unit and was told that my file had been flagged for review but they had 17,000 files to go through. I should have Benn done with my registration over 5 years ago. It is so frustrating!! Does anyone have any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks, Tim
May 28, 2019 at 7:14 am #56230
I didn’t get my review until recently. The eliminated the 5 years SORNA added to my 10 year registration period. I will be finishing my ten-year registration in July of 2020. Stay patient, stay compliant your review will come.
April 9, 2019 at 11:49 pm #54345
Chief Justice sets the Agenda for the Court.
Habeas was the precise reason a man opted Alaska law to weigh in Bartello. Asking Alaskans to “show up” from remote villages at a particular specific time ” for registration ” was clearly likely to produce “lawlessness”. “Intentional” is part of strict liability in men’s rea. Life in remote Alaska is quite different than Hoboken or Chicago or Tempe. Alaska SC immediately rejected that aspect after Smith. The very man who argued for this particular ” use of a database as legitimate regulation ” and not ” plain indentured servitude to a people’s electronic database property” was made top man! This unnatural paradigm shifts OUR Re:Publica Re: Machina, compelling human subservient de minimus. The first time LAW had indentured ” man to machine upkeep”. A sort of “electronic chain gang” meant precisely to impose affirmative restraint upon humans who’d sexually attacked another.
He was handed the gavel by a man from my own state who voted contrary to his home states own constitutional determination in its own laws in the matter of posting publicly as in WI v Norma G. Constanteneau (ConnDPS). Laws that limited in anyway the flow of information data was a serious threat to those with big data intentions and Agendas. The ability to share information across state lines seriously implicates jurisdictional questions (See Playpen).