Pa.’s method of designating sexually violent predators is ‘constitutionally permissible,’ state Supreme Court rules

By Matt Miller — After months of uncertainty, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state’s system for designating sexually violent predators – the worst of the worst sex offenders – is “constitutionally permissible.”

The decision, covered in an opinion by Justice Kevin M. Dougherty, clears the way for county judges to resume imposing the SVP label on sex offenders who are determined to be perpetual dangers to society.

The SVP designation is a step above even the requirement imposed on some sex offenders to register with state police for life or 25 or 15 years, depending on the nature of their convictions. SVP offenders have a lifetime registration mandate as well and police additionally inform their future neighbors and local schools and daycare centers in their neighborhoods about their crimes. They also must attend monthly sex offender counseling programs until they die.

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