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Commonwealth v. Leidig, Pa. Supreme Court, J-24-2008

Topic: Plea Bargain Notifications-Megan’s Law

Brief Legal Summary: The failure to be warned about the Megan’s Law registry requirements will not invalidate a guilty plea.

Case Summary: Appellant Todd Leidig entered an open nolo contendere plea to aggravated indecent assault in September 2002. A full oral colloquy was given during the plea hearing. Leidig was sentenced to 48 to 120 months incarceration and was advised of the ten-year Megan’s Law registration requirement that was in effect at the time. Leidig was told by the Commonwealth and by his attorney that he was not subject to the lifetime Megan’s Law registration requirement because he committed the offense before Megan’s Law II took effect in 2000.

After Leidig was sentenced, he was informed by the parole department that he would be subject to the Megan’s Law II lifetime registration requirement. Leidig challenged his guilty plea on the grounds that he was not informed of the lifetime Megan’s Law registration requirement, which meant that his plea was not knowing or intelligent.

The Supreme Court concluded:

The Megan’s Law registration requirement is not a direct consequence of the guilty plea, but a collateral consequence. Therefore, this is not a basis for relief that would permit the court to withdraw his guilty plea. In other words, if the Megan’s Law registration requirement were an actual punishment and not a civil requirement, notice would have been necessary. Since it is a civil requirement, notice is not necessary.