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Duration of Registration Requirements Under Megan's Law II and SORNA

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Language in Megan's Law II for lifetime registration as a sexual offender requires an act, conviction, and a subsequent act and conviction, not convictions for two or more offenses before convictions and sentences on one.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Adam Walsh Act/SORNA/Megan's Law lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

In two recent decisions announced by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Court held that Megan's Law II and SORNA requires two or more convictions of any crimes committed that are Tier I or Tier II (under Megan's Law II, we'd refer to a conviction of two or more 10 year registration cases) and those offenses have to be committed at separate times.  The statutes require an act, a conviction, and a subsequent act to trigger lifetime registration for multiple offenses subject to a fifteen or twenty-five year period of registration.  

In A.S. v. Pennsylvania State Police, 24 MAP 2014 (August 15, 2016) and Commonwealth v. Thomas Michael Lutz-Morrison, 28 MAP 2015 (August 15, 2016), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held as set forth above.  In A.S., the Court examined the proper construction of Megan's Law II (Section 9795.1(b)(1)) and its lifetime triggering language of "two of more convictions."  The Court determined that this precise language was subject more to a graduated scheme of registration for recidivist language.  It's primary objective being to protect the public and not to punish offenders.

In Lutz-Morrison, the Court looked at the same triggering language present in SORNA or Megan's Law IV, as it is sometimes referred.  (Section 9799.14). Accordingly, any conviction for two or more offenses, at the same time, under either section will subject the offender not to lifetime registration, but to a Tier I or Tier II registration depending on the crime.

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