For most, it's probably hard to grasp how such laws could be legal. Undoubtedly, many appeals will be filed to challenge these laws. In some states such as Ohio, many of the retroactive provisions have been found to be unconstitutional upon being appealed, and have been reversed. In other states, the high courts have upheld the new laws. The purpose of this article is to educate you all about why these new laws may or may not ultimately be determined to be illegal.
Section 17 of the Pennsylvania Constitution reads: However, in order for a retroactive law to violate the ex post facto clause, the legal consequence that is changed retroactively must be "punitive" i. Some examples of collateral consequences include loss of the right to vote, enlist in the armed services, or own a firearm.
Although it may be hard to imagine, some high courts have ruled that sex offender registration requirements are not punitive, but are instead collateral consequences. However, in State v. Their decision was not based upon a single requirement, but instead was based upon the totality of the requirements. The Court cited the various new requirements, and also stated two other factors that influenced their decision: Some notable comments in this analysis include: Therefore, I do not believe that we can continue to label these proceedings as civil in nature.
These restraints on liberty are the consequences of specific criminal convictions and should be recognized as part of the punishment that is imposed as a result of the offender's actions. Accordingly, we conclude that S. In a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case Commonwealth v. Abraham , the court analyzed whether the appellant's losing his pension unknowingly as a result of a plea bargain was a collateral consequence.
Although this case is not directly related to the issue at hand, the court discussed an analysis to determine whether a provision is punitive, or civil. The first inquiry is whether the legislature's intent in enacting the provision at issue was punitive. Based upon the rationale used by this court, if the PA's new sex offender laws are going to be challenged, the appellant should have "the clearest of proof" that he or she has been subject to punitive consequences as a result of the new laws.
The court should also consider, as did the Ohio Supreme Court, that it perhaps did not fully envision the negative effects of Megan's Law during the passage of the original law.
In essence, the conditions imposed by Megan's Laws are tantamount to sentences of supervision that have historically been considered to be punishment.
There are basically two "Tiers" of offenders: Please share your stories of how you have been affected by Megan's Law, or how you envision the new laws will negatively affect you. Required to register under Megan's Law even though one's plea agreement precluded such a condition Reclassification into higher tiers without causal reason offense-based, not risk-based Reclassification into higher tiers due to convictions for multiple lower-tiered "sexually violent offenses" that resulted from the same act Extensions of registration periods More-detailed personal information requirements on the website Prison sentences if in violation Inclusion of juvenile offenders on Megan's Law website Loss of employment, or prevention of employment Loss of ability to live with your children Residency restrictions.