PENNSYLVANIA MAN SUCCESSFULLY CHALLENGES STATE’S “MEGAN’S LAW”
An anonymous defendant successfully challenged Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law statute and was found not to be subject to its community notification provision. The man, convicted of sexually assaulting an eleven year-old girl in New Jersey, was sentenced to five years probation and parole supervision for life. In the sentencing report, the judge found defendant was unlikely to repeat such offense and that this incident was likely the result of intoxication.
The man chose to serve his sentence in Pennsylvania in accordance with the Interstate Compact concerning Parole and Probation, which allows a person, upon approval, to serve a probation or parole sentence in a state other than where the crime was committed. Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law requires that only sex offenders convicted in Pennsylvania that are found to pose a risk of repeat offense be subject to the community notification provision. However, all sex offenders transferring their sentence from out-of-state are subject to community notification.
The Third Circuit, Court of Appeals, accepted defendant’s argument that this contradiction in Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law violated the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Had the same crime occurred in Pennsylvania, defendant would not have been subject to community notification. Therefore, subjecting the man to community notification simply because he transferred his sentence from New Jersey did not promote any legitimate state interest and violated the man’s constitutional rights.
Sex Crimes are serious matters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the United States. These crimes carry harsh penalties. In addition to prison sentences a convicted offender may be subject to “Megan’s Law”, which is intended to “protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this Commonwealth by providing for registration and community notification regarding sexually violent predators who are about to be released from custody and will live in or near their neighborhood”.
Sex Offenses in Pennsylvania are serious crimes which carry many substantial penalties if you are convicted. An experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney should defend you against these charges.