Sex crimes defendants’ cases reconsidered after ruling
A glitch in a Pennsylvania sex-offender registration database may have resulted in unfair punishment for a number of defendants. Scores of sex crimes defendants could receive dismissal of certain felony charges after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that parts of the registration system are unconstitutional. The database was developed as part of the Megan’s Law initiative. Authorities say that one man has already been set free because of mistakes in the system. He had been slated to spend six to 12 years in prison, supposedly for failing to register. Other offenders — those who were charged with failure to register between 2005 and 2012 — could also receive legal relief. It should be noted that the dismissal of charges will not relate directly to the sex crimes, but rather to the failure to register with the state. Many who fail to comply with the sex offender registry may face prison time for this violation. The charge has a mandatory minimum prison term and can send offenders to prison for as long as seven years. The aforementioned convict had been charged with two counts of failure to register. He avoided 10 additional years behind bars because of changes to the previous registration system. The nullification of certain registration rules could have significant implications for the entire state. Officials in Lancaster anticipate that fewer than 50 sex offenders in the area would be eligible for relief, but larger numbers could be affected in other regions. Prosecutors throughout the state are still working to identify eligible cases. Criminal defendants should not face additional charges because of misguided and unconstitutional legislation. These defendants may benefit from the assistance of a Pennsylvania attorney. These professionals may provide additional information about legal rights and options.
Source: Lancaster Online, “Many Pa. sex offenders are due relief from Megan’s Law glitch” 17 February 2014