Changing the laws that affect someone after the fact is an unconstitutional ex post facto law which the Constitution forbids, but when the government is corrupt, anything is possible. It also is a violation of the contracts clause.
PITTSBURGH - In three weeks, the state's Megan's Law registry is going to change. New laws will protect the public from even more sexual predators for even longer periods of time.
It sounds like a logical change, but as Target 11 investigator Rick Earle learned, it's only creating controversy.
Lawmakers said the tougher restrictions are designed to keep communities safe, but defense attorneys said they go way too far and target people who've already had their day in court.
To this day, [name withheld] maintains his innocence, so why did he plead no contest to indecent assault?
"With having a public defender and already having a record being on parole, what chance did I have?" said [name withheld].
Earle asked, "So you thought you had two strikes against you?"
"I had the whole deck of cards against me," said [name withheld].
For the last nine years, his picture and address have been posted on the Megan's Law website. It was supposed to be removed next year, but because of sweeping new changes to Megan's Law, he will remain on the website for at least 15 more years and possibly even longer.
- Which is unconstitutional and additional punishment!
"My family has a lot of get-togethers that I can't go to because of my picture being on the computer," said [name withheld].
Right now, sex offenders either register for 10 years or life.
The new system will divide them into three categories -- 15 years, 25 years or life.
Plus, certain crimes, like invasion of privacy and unlawful restraint, will now be added to Megan's Law, and the crimes don't have to be sexual in nature.
- Hell, why don't we also put all other criminals on the registry, and instead of calling it the "sex" offender registry, call it the "Sinners" registry, which would be more accurate.
These changes apply to anyone currently serving time or on parole or probation.
"It's going to open a can of worms," said defense attorney Phil Dilucente.
- The can of worms was opened many years ago.
Dilucente represents a number of clients who will now be forced to register as sex offenders -- something they weren't told at sentencing.
"When you have any type of law that's passed and there is retroactivity, where there's punitive punishment for laws that people have already been convicted for, that, in and of itself, is problematic," said Dilucente.
- Yes, it's an unconstitutional ex post facto law.
State police tell Target 11 they expect an additional 1,500 to 2,500 offenders will be added to the database under these new rules. About 500 of them will be in Allegheny County.
- The more people they have on the registry, the more money there is to be made.
"I do think it's fair. The law is a little tougher, and I'm not going to sit here and apologize for making a tougher law to protect our kids from predators," said state Sen. Kim Ward of Hempfield Township.
- But it doesn't protect anybody, it only makes you look good to the sheeple, and it's also a violation of your oath of office.
The new law also closes a major loophole that allowed out-of-state sex offenders to come to Pennsylvania without registering.
"You're not just a predator in one state if you are a predator, so we need to know who is here, where they are, are they near our schools, and what are they doing," said Ward.
"I'm more or less kind of disappointed because I lost a lot of friends and family members," said [name withheld].
Some defense attorneys have told Earle they are gearing up to challenge the law. Lawmakers said they are confident it will stand up in a court of law.