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Failure to Register- Megan's Law

Out of state resident protected by decision in Muniz

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini

Recently we had a York County client charged with failure to register under Megan’s Law. The offense occurred after the Muniz decision was announced by the Pa Supreme Court on July 19, 2017. That decision held that the registration provisions of Megan’s Law IV were punishment, therefore, not subject to retroactive application. As such, failing to register under its registration provisions was likewise prohibited.

Enter our client who was not from Pennsylvania, but nonetheless failed to register after July 19, 2017. The York County District Attorney’s Office took the position that our client was still liable for failing to register because “he availed himself of the PA Law by coming to PA to live after July 19, 2017.”

We challenged this contention by filing a motion for habeas corpus relief (dismissal of charges) because 1) Muniz made registration under Megan’s Law IV a nullity and 2) the PA decision applies to ALL persons via the equal protection clauses of both the PA and federal constitutions. The Court found our argument persuasive and granted dismissal of the charge.

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