Commonwealth v. Moose

Commonwealth v. Moose is another decision of the Pennsylvania appellate courts concerning Subchapters H and I of SORNA.  In 1995, the defendant entered a negotiated guilty plea to third-degree murder, rape, and criminal conspiracy. At the time the defendant pleaded guilty, Pennsylvania had not yet enacted laws requiring sex offender registration. In  December 2011, PA … Read more

Commonwealth v. Asher

While Commonwealth v. Asher was pending in the Superior Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered its decision in Commonwealth v. Torsilieri, 232 A.3d 567 (Pa. 2020). In Torsilieri, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether SORNA’s inherent irrebuttable presumption that sex offenders are likely to recidivate violates due process. In Torsilieri, the Supreme Court … Read more

Commonwealth v. Leone

In Commonwealth v. Leone, the Superior Court held that the defendant’s designation as a sexually violent predator (SVP) was constitutional. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court previously held in Commonwealth v. Butler, 226 A.3d 972 (Pa. 2020), that the mechanism by which defendants are determined to be SVPs is constitutional.

Commonwealth v. Reslink

In Commonwealth v. Reslink, the defendant appealed his sentence after he was convicted of molesting his nephew. The Superior Court held that the trial court did not err when, at sentencing, the court did not merge two counts of indecent assault. The Court found that one count was based on a course of conduct, while … Read more

Commonwealth v. Muhammad

In Commonwealth v. Muhammad, the PA Superior Court ruled that Revised Subchapter H of the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9799.10—9799.42, was unconstitutional as applied to the defendant because the statute created an irrebuttable presumption that her convictions for interference with custody of children, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, and conspiracy … Read more

Commonwealth v. Santana

An en banc panel of the Superior Court waded into the murky waters of SORNA in Commonwealth v. Santana. The defendant was convicted of rape in New York in 1983 and was released from jail in 2000. Under NY law, he was required to register as a sex offender for life. In 1994, Pennsylvania enacted … Read more

Commonwealth v. Smith

In Commonwealth v. Smith, the PA Superior Court held that the defendant’s petition to remove himself from sex offender registration was not an untimely PCRA petition. Relying on Commonwealth v. Lacombe, the Court held that the lower court was obligated to review the merits of the claim.

Commonwealth v. Mickley

In Commonwealth v. Mickley, the Superior Court followed the precedent of Commonwealth v. Torsilieri and remanded the defendant’s case to provide both parties an opportunity to develop arguments, to present additional evidence, and to allow the trial court to weigh that evidence in determining whether the Commonwealth refuted the relevant legislative findings supporting the challenged … Read more

Commonwealth v. Manzano

The Superior Court revisited SORNA, Butler II, Torsilieri, and Lacombe in Commonwealth v. Manzano, where the Court rejected the challenge to Subchapter H of SORNA I. Because the appellant was found to be a sexually violent predator, he failed to show what he was required to do beyond that which was required based on his SVP designation.

Commonwealth v. Lacombe

In a stunning turn of events, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Lacombe ruled that Subchapter I of SORNA is nonpunitive and, thus, applying it to individuals, who committed crimes and were sentenced before its enactment, does not violate the prohibition on ex post facto laws. This decision breaks with Commonwealth v. Muniz, which … Read more