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Commonwealth v. Haines

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

October 30, 2019

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MEGHAN ELIZABETH HAINES, Appellant

          Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence, October 27, 2017, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County Criminal Division at No. CP-36-CR-0001204-2017

          BEFORE: OTT, J., McLAUGHLIN, J., AND FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

          OPINION

          FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

         Meghan Elizabeth Haines appeals from the October 27, 2017 judgment of sentence entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County following her conviction of two counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age.[1] After careful review, we affirm in part and vacate in part.

         The trial court provided the following synopsis of the relevant procedural history:

On July 6, 2017, [appellant] pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of Indecent Assault of a person less than thirteen years of age. The charges related to incidents between both victims and [appellant] that occurred sometime between 2005 and 2006, when [appellant] was between fourteen and fifteen. The victim did not disclose the allegations until 2016, when [appellant] was over the age of twenty-one. Prior to sentencing, [appellant] filed a motion [entitled] "Motion to Bar Imposition of Megan's Law Registration pursuant to Commonwealth v. Muniz[, "[2] seeking exclusion from lifetime registration pursuant to SORNA.[3] That Motion was denied by [the trial court, ] and [appellant] was sentenced to five (5) years['] probation on each charge, to run consecutively.

         Trial court opinion, 2/16/18 at 1 (footnote omitted).

         Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal to this court on November 27, 2017.[4] The trial court ordered appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Appellant timely complied with the trial court's order, and the trial court filed an opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a).

         Appellant raises the following issues for our review:

I. Can [appellant] be required to register as a sex offender where SORNA II, enacted February 21, 2018, in an ex post facto law, which may not be applied to the instant offenses, which were committed in 2005?
The applicable registration law changed after [appellant] was ordered to register; however, the court below held that [appellant] could be required to register under a previous, unspecified version of Megan's Law.
II. Can [appellant] be required to register as a sex offender where she was a juvenile when the offense occurred in 2005, and registration as a sex offender under those circumstances constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Article [I], Section Nine of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?
The court below found that despite having committed a sex offense as a juvenile, [appellant] was required to register because she was ...

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