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Commonwealth v. Elliot

Pennsylvania Superior Court

April 5, 2021

In Commonwealth v. Elliot, the defendant filed a PCRA petition requesting the lower court vacate his Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) designation. The court dismissed his petition as untimely. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that, though the lower court erred in construing the defendant’s challenge to his registration, notification, and counseling (RNC) requirements as an untimely PCRA petition, the petition did not merit relief. Based on Commonwealth v. Lacombe, 234 A.3d 602 (Pa. 2020), and Commonwealth v. Smith, 240 A.3d 654, 658 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2020), the RNC requirements of Subchapter I of SORNA II are not criminal sanctions, and, thus, the applicability of SORNA II may be challenged outside the PCRA. Citing Commonwealth v. Butler, 226 A.3d 972 (Pa. 2020) (Butler II), the Court held that Subchapter I’s RNC requirements for SVPs do not constitute criminal punishment. Therefore, the requirements are not punitive or violative of the ex post facto prohibitions.

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