Legal Update, 3-30-2020

PARSOL Responds to Comm v. Butler Decision


“Although we at PARSOL are disappointed in the results of the PA Supreme Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Butler, which was a 7-0 unanimous decision to separate SVP’s from non-SVPs regarding registry requirements and asserting that PA.’s SORNA statute is not punishment because of the Commonwealth’s interest in protecting the public from persons with a “certain mental condition or behavior disorder” outweighs the current restrictions regarding SVP status, we do not feel completely defeated.

The basis of the PA Supreme Court’s decision was due to the fact that the appellee used the decision in Muniz, which ruled that the registry provisions after December 2012 were ex post facto and violated the U.S. and PA’s ex post facto clauses in the U.S. Constitution and PA Constitution. The Muniz decision said nothing about the status of SVP’s.

It appears that other avenues other than the decision in Muniz could be used in the future. As we all know, the SVP statute itself is flawed due to the way persons are arbitrarily labelled as SVPs.¬† We at PARSOL have not ended our fight against the SVP provisions, we have only just begun to fight!¬† The decision in Butler is only a temporary setback for now! The entire concept of a how person is labeled an SVP, which is arbitrary and highly subjective, is still open for meeting constitutional requirements.”


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