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Juvenile Lifetime Registration Under SORNA/Megan's Law IV Held Unconstitutional

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that SORNA's registration requirements violate juvenile offender's due process rights.

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By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, SORNA and Megan's Law Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

On December 29, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in joined cases that juveniles should not be subject to the mandatory registration requirements.  In the Interest of J.B., 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3468, 107 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2014).  The Court determined that the juveniles' constitutionally-protected right to reputation is encroached upon by an irrebuttable presumption of future offending that is not universally true and where a reasonable alternative means exists for determining the presumed fact. 

Here, the Court stated: "While adult sexual offenders have a high likelihood of reoffense, juvenile sexual offenders exhibit low levels of recidivism...many of those who commit sexual offenses as juveniles do so as a result of impulsivity or sexual curiosity."  The Court noted that this finding is corroborated by recent U.S. Supreme Court precedents.  The Court also determined that SORNA impinges upon a juvenile's right to reputation.

If I am on the Registry as a Juvenile Offender, How do I get off of it?

In a recent pronouncement, the Pennsylvania State Police, who are to maintain the SORNA data base, indicated that "effective immediately, all Juvenile Megan's Law Offenders will be inactive in the registry."  This does not include sexually violent delinquent children (SVDC's), or juveniles that were convicted as an adult for a separate registerable offense.

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