PA Supreme Court Decision alters Sex Offender Registration Requirements

| Dec 15, 2016 | Firm News, Sex Crimes

A ruling issued by a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court could greatly alter the registration requirements imposed on some types of convicted sex offenders. The Opinion handed down in Commonwealth v. Lutz-Morrison, Under an interpretation of the old “Megan’s Law” statute a conviction on two or more registration crimes triggers automatic lifetime registration.

The Court in Lutz-Morrison concluded that under the new SORNA statute the language is “susceptible to two reasonable constructions, and the statue, which sets forth a graduated (three-tier) scheme of registration, encompasses a recidivist philosophy. As such, the statue requires an act, a conviction, and a subsequent act to trigger lifetime registration for multiple offenses otherwise subject to a fifteen or twenty-five year period of registration.” Commonwealth v. Lutz-Morrison, 28 MAP 2015 (PA), pg 7. This decision will have a impact on plea negotiations in case where all the crimes carry a 15 or 25 year registration requirement. Whether this decision will be applied retroactively is yet to be determined.