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SORNA- You Can Get Off The List!

I have fielded many, many calls from clients that are looking to get off the SORNA Tier registrant list. There is a fallacy floating around out there, likely perpetrated by the Commonwealth, PSP, DA's Offices, Attorney General's Office, Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole, or who knows who else, that you cannot be removed from the list because Commonwealth v. Muniz is pending possible review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Not so!

If the charges for which you are currently registered under Megan's Law occurred prior to December 20, 2012 (effective date of Megan's Law IV/SORNA), you cannot be required to register any longer. However, you must seek to have your illegal sentence- because it's punishment- vacated by the county court in which you were initially sentenced. If you are from outside PA and made to register here, you need to do the same, just in the Commonwealth Court. The Pennsylvania State Police are not an indispensible party. Commonwealth v. McCullough, __ A.3d ___, 2017 WL 5184490, 2017 Pa. Super. 352 (November 9, 2017) (en banc). Further, there is long-established precedent in this Commonwealth that the legality of a sentence may not be waived. Commonwealth v. Joseph Dean Butler, 2017 Pa.Super. 344 (Oct. 31, 2017); Commonwealth v. Barnes, 637 Pa. 493, 151 A.3d 121 (2016); Commonwealth v. Wolfe, 636 Pa. 37, 140 A.3d 651 (2016); Commonwealth v. Foster, 609 Pa. 502, 17 A.3d 332 (2011). But, you cannot simply stop registering- you need to have the court remove you from the list.

However, don't think that the PA Legislature is going to sit by for long and allow this window to be open. There is current legislation pending as of December 2017 to essentially overrule Muniz by enacting another Megan's Law. Megan's Law V, if you will.