A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

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By Burt Rose

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The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, sitting en banc, has decided the case of Richard Coppolino versus Frank Noonan, commissioner of the PA state police. This case is docket number 214 MD 2013 and was filed on October 14, 2014. The opinion was issued without dissent from the other six judges on the panel.

The court found that the provisions of Megan’s law IV, also known as the sexual offender registration and notification act, 42 PA CS section 9799.10–.41, may be applied retroactively as they are not punitive in nature. However, section 9799.15(g), which requires that a registrant update changes in his registration information in person at an approved registration site within three business days, is disproportionate and therefore is punitive. Accordingly, applying this section to Coppolino would violate the ex post facto principle.

Therefore, the requirement that registrants promptly update the PSP with in person updates is stricken from section 9799.15(g) as to its retroactive application. The rest of the law remains in effect for Mr. Coppolino.

The attorney for Coppolino was ….. me. Expect a Petition for Allowance of Appeal.

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