An encouraging win in Pennsylvania

By Larry . . . T.S. v. Pennsylvania State Police was just decided by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court is the intermediate court of appeals which leaves open the door for the state to seek review in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This case has the potential to remove a significant number of people from the state’s sex…

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PA court rules some aspects of sex offender registry constitute punishment

By Sandy . . . The case is T.S. v. Pennsylvania State Police; the decision can be viewed here. A legal representative with PARSOL — Pennsylvania Assoc. for Rational Sexual Offense Laws — stated, “[The decision] is GOOD. It will be most helpful with our push to reform how the SVP label is applied just arbitrarily . . . ”…

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PARSOL responds to Comm. v. Butler decision

By PARSOL . . . Although we at PARSOL are disappointed in the results of the PA Supreme Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Butler, which was a 7-0 unanimous decision to separate SVP’s from non-SVPs regarding registry requirements and asserting that Pennsylvania’s SORNA statute is not punishment because of the Commonwealth’s interest in protecting the public from persons with a…

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Sexually violent predator law upheld by Pa. Supreme Court

By Associate Press HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld laws Thursday that require offenders deemed “sexually violent predators” to undergo lifetime counseling and registration and be the subject of community notices. The requirements have the legitimate purpose of keeping the community safe and therefore do not amount to extra punishment, the court said in reversing a lower…

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Once again: Registries do not reduce or prevent sexual crime; NARSOL’s PA advocate quoted

By Joshua Vaughn . . . The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to rule on five cases this year that could change how the state treats people convicted of sex offenses, and could ease the state’s sex offense registry restrictions, commonly referred to as Megan’s Law. But in a December opinion piece, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro warned that if the court were to…

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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…

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Appeals court provides new vehicle to challenge registration

By Larry . . . We are excited to report that registrants in Pennsylvania now will have a new vehicle to challenge sex offender registration. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court handed down a precedential decision on February 27th that has the potential to be significant going forward. See Piasecki v. Court of Common Pleas,…

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In Pennsylvania, commit a sexual crime at 12, be charged at 25

By Joshua Vaughn . . . James is a registered sex offender. He was convicted in 2016 of felony statutory sexual assault when he was 23 years old for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl, according to court records. His name will appear on the Pennsylvania sex offender registry for nearly another decade and he will carry a felony conviction for the…

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On the registry? Do you know everything you should?

By Sandy . . . In a recent column, Dear Abby makes the unqualified statement that a person with a Level 3 or Tier 3 designation on the sexual offense registry means that the individual is “. . . the most dangerous and most likely to reoffend.” From those in the know, this drew immediate criticism and protest. In 2003,…

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PA state police arrests for sex offense registry infractions skyrocket

Used with permission By Joshua Vaughn . . . In January 2015, Franklin Barrick packed his bags and moved out of his home near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, leaving his wife behind. For most, the end of a marriage would bring divorce proceedings in civil court, but for Barrick it yielded felony criminal charges. Why? Because Barrick is on the sex offender…

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