PARSOL (and the ACLU) do not support Marsy's Law (HB276 / SB 149).
This bill would modify the PA State Constitution to change how courts handle people accused of crimes.
Two of the problems with this bill are the sections that would allow a victim to refuse an interview or a discovery request from the person charged with a crime, and the wording that guarantees a victim “proceedings free from delay”. As the ACLU points out, this bill goes against the conventions of our legal system. Discovery is a key part of preparing for a trial and proceedings sometimes take weeks or months in order to prepare a proper defense.
The accused are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. This bill would shift the burden of proof from the State to the accused. Marsy’s Law would negatively impact persons accused of crimes by making it harder for them to defend themselves.
HB 276 was introduced by a Republican and was widely supported by The PA House of Representatives. It passed in April. (190 YEA 8 NAY)
PARSOL does not support SB136
This bill would add 3 crimes related to sex trafficking to the list of offenses required to be included on the public Sex Offender Registry.
While PARSOL certainly condemns sex trafficking and the exploitation involved with it, listing those convicted of these types of crimes on Megan’s Law will not result in less sex trafficking. The public Sex Offender Registry has proved ineffective at it’s stated purpose of keeping PA citizens safe, and it is a drain on the resources of PA, especially law enforcement.
SB 136 was introduced by a Republican and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This bill proposes changing the laws around parole so that inmates designated Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) may only apply for parole once every three years. This is different from how the law is now, which allows the majority of inmates to apply once per year.
SB 123 was introduced by a Democrat. It is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.