Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Butler (Pa. 2020)
Nature of Case: Criminal direct appeal. Question on appeal was whether, in light of prior PA Supreme Court and US Supreme Court precedent, state statutory mechanism for designating people as sexually violent predators was unconstitutional. Pennsylvania law designates certain individuals as SVPs if there is fact-finding in addition to conviction for a sexual offense, and triggers additional registration requirements. The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that in light of prior state law precedent, that Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme for SVP designations was not constitutional in that it was punitive and ran afoul of certain constitutional protections. The state sought discretionary review from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was granted.
Holding: Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Superior Court, and found that the state law mechanism for SVP designations was not punitive, and thus did not run afoul of constitutional principles.
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court Opinion (2020) | view via Google Scholar
- Appellee’s Brief (Supreme Court)
- Appellant’s Brief (Supreme Court)
- Superior Court Opinion (2017)| view via Google Scholar
- Appellee’s Brief (Superior Court)
- Appellant’s Brief (Superior Court)