Commonwealth v. Poling

Full title: COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA v. VICTORIA MARIE POLING Appellant

Court: SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Case No.: J-S58017-19 No. 361 WDA 2019

Date published: Jan 7, 2020

Fact:

Victoria Marie Poling (Appellant) appealed from the post-conviction court’s February 20, 2019 order, denying her timely petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). The appeal stemmed from her designation as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), despite subsequent legal developments rendering such designations illegal.

Issue:

The issues raised by Appellant for review were:

  • Whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to explain the requirements of SORNA, thus rendering Appellant’s plea involuntary.
  • Whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to disclose discovery to Appellant.
  • Whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to prepare Appellant for sentencing and advise her of her options to submit letters on her behalf to the sentencing court.

Decision:

The court reviewed the opinion issued by the PCRA court and adopted it as its own with respect to the issues raised by Appellant on appeal. However, the court sua sponte addressed the illegal designation of Appellant as an SVP under SORNA. In light of prior legal rulings and subsequent legislative actions, the court concluded that Appellant’s designation as an SVP was illegal. Therefore, the court vacated the PCRA court’s order, reversed the portion of Appellant’s judgment of sentence deeming her an SVP under SORNA, and remanded the case for the court to determine what, if any, registration requirements apply to Appellant.

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