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Pennsylvania man challenges lifetime label for sexual assault

A Pennsylvania judge has imposed a prison term of three to 10 years for a conviction related to various sex crimes. The 53-year-old man was found guilty of sexual assault of a teenage girl, along with several related charges. The judge also stipulated that the man must register for the rest of his life as a sex offender with the man's local police department.

He has challenged the validity of the order and his appeal argues that the court order violates the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions against cruel and unusual punishment. At the maximum, his sentence would be 10 years; therefore a lifetime registration requirement exceeds his sentence, according to his argument. The judge made the ruling on the basis of the Adam Walsh Act, a federal statute that was signed into law in July 2006. This law organizes sex offenders into three distinct levels and states that level three offenders (considered the most serious) update their address every 90 days and stipulates a lifetime registration.

The man's defense team also challenged the conviction on the basis that the prosecution was unable to prove that the 14-year-old girl was assaulted against her will. The public defender claimed that the state presented no clear evidence that the purported victim tried to resist the man or sought medical attention after the alleged assault. He seeks a new trial and/or a stay be granted concerning the man's sentence.

This man's appeal regarding the lifetime registration is not the only one that has been filed. All of the Pennsylvania cases contend that a lifetime label as a sexual assault offender violates the individual's rights to be protected from cruel or unusual punishments. Though this man has already been convicted of the sexual assault, legal issues remain concerning the legality of the sentence imposed, as well as the factual and legal basis for the conviction that was secured.

Source:, "Donegal sex offender fights lifetime registration", Liz Zemba, July 3, 2014

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