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"In applying the second prong, courts “ordinarily defer to the legislature's stated intent,” and “only the clearest proof will suffice to override legislative intent and transform what has been denominated a civil remedy into a criminal penalty." Ultimately the court ruled that the appellant's loss of pension was a collateral consequence.
Based upon the rationale used by this court, if the PA's new sex offender laws are going to be challenged, the appellant should have "the clearest of proof" that he or she has been subject to punitive consequences as a result of the new laws.
The Court cited the various new requirements, and also stated two other factors that influenced their decision: 1) the procedures for registration and classification of sex offenders were placed within Ohio's criminal code, and 2) failure to comply with certain registration requirements subjected an offender to criminal prosecution. 10, as applied to defendants who committed sex offenses prior to its enactment, violates Section 28, Article II of the Ohio Constitution, which prohibits the General Assembly from passing retroactive laws." A video of the oral argument that was administered prior to the decision is below.
Some notable comments in this analysis include: "The stigma attached to sex offenders is significant, and the potential exists for ostracism and harassment, as the Cook court recognized. In a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case (Commonwealth v.
Additionally, if an individual were sentenced to the maximum term of 10 years of imprisonment for a crime in 1999, and in 2002 the maximum sentence for that crime changed to 20 years, the sentence of that individual cannot be changed retroactively to conform to the new law.
For most, it's probably hard to grasp how such laws could be legal.
Undoubtedly, many appeals will be filed to challenge these laws.
Please share your stories of how you have been affected by Megan's Law, or how you envision the new laws will negatively affect you.
Please note that our firm does not handle registration issues, but strives to provide the public with a clear understanding of the laws.