Thursday, January 24, 2008

Law Struck Down for Disparate Treatment

Here, Padilla sentence is discussed by AP.

Doc Berman straight and unadulterated: (here is the comment to Doc's post, which I found interesting) Thanks to this post at DotD, I see that divided panel of the Third Circuit in Doe v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation, No. 05-4200 (3d Cir. Jan. 23, 2008) (available here), has struck down part of Pennsylvania's sex offender notification statute because its "disparate treatment of out-of-state offenders violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution."

A brief scan of the opinions in Doe suggests that Con Law folks ought to be interested in this ruling. For example, consider this final footnote from the majority's opinion:

An undercurrent to our dissenting colleague’s argument is that under rational basis review, the government always wins. That, quite simply, cannot be so. In fact, were that the case, our review of issues under this standard would be equivalent to no review at all. A necessary corollary to and implication of rationality as a test is that there will be situations where proffered reasons are not rational. That precise situation is graphically presented here. Put simply, every reason proffered by the Commonwealth for its disparate treatment of Doe in this case is meritless, and hence irrational. No reason the Commonwealth offers for disparate treatment can be considered “rational” because each is contrary to the promises it made to the other signatories when it signed-on to the Compact. Indeed, in the several instances, the stated purposes of the Interstate Compact itself contradict what the Commonwealth claims are its reasons for the disparate treatment it gives to in-state and out-of-state offenders.

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