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Removal from Registry- Time Credit Granted

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Time credit was granted for six years the registrant spent registering in two other state before transferring to Pennsylvania.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Adam Walsh/SORNA, lawyer

In Tommy Lee Jackson v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 388 MD 2014 (Decided July 7, 2016), the Commonwealth court held under equal protection grounds that the petitioner was entitled to the six (6) years of credit that he spent registering as a sex offender under Megan's Law II in both Texas and Delaware.  Jackson was registered in Texas in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2002.  He was registered in Delaware in 2002.  He moved to PA in 2004.  The Court accepted the stipulation that he had registered for 6 (six) years before he moved to PA and began registering.  Under Megan's Law II he was required to register for 10 years.

In 2008, the Pennsylvania State Police informed Jackson that he began registering in 2004 and his period, therefore, ended in 2014.  Under SORNA, he was now a lifetime/Tier III registrant because SORNA requires all registrants that have not yet completed their requirements by December 20, 2012 to register for Indecent Assault, 18 Pa.C.S. Section 3107(a)(7), for life.  Jackson filed a mandamus action against the State Police contending that he was due the 6 years of registration credit from TX and DE, thus making his period expire in 2008.

Here, Jackson stipulates that Megan's Law II nor SORNA provide for "credit" for time spent on registration in other states.  Jackson asserts that this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.  The Court determined that questions of a constitutional concern under Megan's Law receive a rational basis review.  Essentially, is there a rational basis for requiring Jackson to register for life when a PA offender that committed the same offense on the same day, and who registered for 10 years, would not be required to register for life? The Court determined there was no rational basis for this distinction.  The State Police's determination not to grant time credit was not reasonably related to the object of the Commonwealth's sex offender legislation.

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