CRIMINAL LAW

SORNA • Megan’s Law

Commonwealth v. Strouse, PICS Case No. 14-0267 (C.P. Lehigh Jan. 22, 2014) Ford, J. (10 pages).

Where term of sexual offender registration was not part of plea bargain, defendant, formerly required to register for 10 years un-der Megan’s Law II, was required under SORNA to register for 25 years. Petition denied.

In 2004, defendant pled guilty to unlawful contact or communication with a minor. In exchange for his plea, commonwealth dropped the remaining charges. At the guilty plea hearing, Megan’s Law II was accurately explained to defendant and the entry of his plea was not made conditional upon his being obligated to a 10-year registration period.

Defendant was sentenced to 18 months of probation and was required to register for 10 years under Megan’s Law II.

Defendant successfully completed his probation and reported as required (his annual registration was to expire in 2014). In December 2012, police notified defendant that, pursuant to the recently enacted Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, he was now a “Tier II” sexual offender and a 25-year registrant.

Defendant petitioned court to find that he was only subject to Megan’s Law II registration requirements for the original 10-year period and exempt from SORNA. The court of common pleas held that defendant was required to register for 25 years.

The plain language of SORNA requires that defendant register for 25 years. Specifically, pursuant to §9799.13, a person required to register under Megan’s Law II prior to the effective date of SORNA, who has not fulfilled the period of registration as of the effective date, is subject to its provisions.

When SORNA became effective on Dec. 20, 2012, defendant had not yet fulfilled his original registration requirements under Megan’s Law II. He planned to continue to report into 2014. Thus, under §9799.13, defendant is bound by the provisions of SORNA. Under §9799.15, the crime of which defendant has been convicted has become a Tier II offense, subjecting defendant to the 25-year registration requirement.