On July 10, Chester County Judge Anthony Sarcione ruled that the law that defendant George Torsilieri was required to report to the PA state police as a sex offender was unconstitutional. Judge Sarcione said the law, the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), violates the fundamental right to reputation under the state Constitution as well as federal guarantees of due process. The law had been updated by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in in February of this year as Act 10 of 2018.
The ruling came on the motion of Torsilieri’s attorney, Marni Jo Snyder of Philadelphia. She had argued that the SORNA requirements add an undue secondary punishment on her client.
Snyder had said in a motion to preclude Torsilieri from having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life that the SORNA statute, “constitutes criminal punishment” without a chance to challenge its imposition. Judge Sarcione agreed. The Chester County District Attorney’s Office filed a notice of appeal of Sarcione’s decision directly to the PA Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the SORNA provisions. In cases regarding the question of constitutionality, a direct appeal to the state Supreme Court can be made.