Megan’s Law Offenders In Pennsylvania And Their First Amendment Rights

July 10, 2017By Brian Manchester

Are you a registered Megan’s Law Offender in Pennsylvania? If you have been convicted of or are being charged with a sex crime in Pennsylvania this is important information about your First Amendment rights.

While reading the American Bar Association Journal today I came across an interesting article on the rights on the first Amendment in our US Constitution and how powerful this right is. A recently decided US Supreme Court decision illustrated this. PACKINGHAM v. NORTH CAROLINA No. 15–1194. Argued February 27, 2017—Decided June 19, 2017.

There is a law in North Carolina that makes it a felony to access the internet/websites that have any social media connection for convicted individuals who also had to become registered sex offenders. This law included individuals who had completed all other aspects of their sentencing other than the registration requirement.

The Court stated: In sum, to foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights. It is unsettling to suggest that only a limited set of websites can be used even by persons who have completed their sentences. Even convicted criminals—and in some instances especially convicted criminals—might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives.

It is well established that, as a general rule, the Government “may not suppress lawful speech as the means to suppress unlawful speech.” Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U. S., at 255. That is what North Carolina has done here. Its law must be held invalid.

How will this decision affect cases in Pennsylvania? Can the Courts still impose restrictions when an individual is still on probation? These questions still remain and will have to be figured out through litigation here in Pennsylvania.

If you, your son, daughter, loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: Sex Crimes

Tags: Criminal Defense, First Amendment Rights, Law Offenders, Law Offenders In Pennsylvania,

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Brian Manchester

About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

3 Comments

  • Avatar

    Are people under the Megan law are they consider a felony in the state of Pennsylvania

  • Avatar

    Susan Deitrich says:

    My boyfriend was charged with offense 3126A2 on 11/06/2006 and convicted on 3/27/2007 and had an offence charge of 3126A1 on 3/8/2008 and convicted on 6/30/2018. He was originally sentenced to a 10 registration after pleading guilty and serving his full 6 year 6 month prison sentence. When he got out September of 2014 his registration period was changed to lifetime registration. In February of 2018 he was removed from the registry and placed back on for his original 10 year registration sentence. His registration period started February of 2018 but the 4 years he registered initially as well as the prior 6 year registry isn’t being accounted for. Can he legally do anything?

  • Brian Manchester

    Brian Manchester says:

    Hello Susan,

    This issue is much too complicated to discuss over a blog post. Consider consulting with a Criminal Defense Lawyer who offers Free Consultations like we do.

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