As I have argued, for some time in courts-martial, sex offender registration is effectively a punishment in today’s society–despite what legislators and courts say. Well, now we have an interesting decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 3-1 decision, about ex post facto changes to SOR.
[T]he provisions of the state’s sex offender registration law (SORNA) [are] unconstitutional under the state and federal constitutions, according to the majority in Commonwealth v. Muniz held that 1) SORNA’s registration provisions constitute punishment notwithstanding the General Assembly’s identification of the provisions as nonpunitive; 2) retroactive application of SORNA’s registration provisions violates the federal ex post facto clause; and 3) retroactive application of SORNA’s registration provisions also violates the ex post facto clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
The bottom line here for me is that various courts are now holding that SOR is punitive. I argue that as the reason an accused should be able to raise SOR requirements in sentencing and that the members should not be given a “Talkington” instruction.