The Commonwealth Court has ruled in an apparent issue of first impression that reporting a convicted sex offender’s Internet aliases under Megan’s Law IV would not violate his First Amendment rights.
The decision from a seven-judge Commonwealth Court panel came in response to Richard Coppolino’s request to be removed from the sex offender registry. The en banc panel rejected his argument that being required to disclose his Internet identities infringes on his right to anonymous free speech.
Coppolino asserted that since he was convicted and completed his sentence before Megan’s Law IV was enacted, having to comply with certain provisions of the law constituted retroactive punishment.
Coppolino, convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, also argued that the provision of Megan’s Law requiring the reporting of Internet names — designed to protect minors — was overbroad in the context of his case because his crime did not involve a minor or the Internet, Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer wrote in the court’s opinion.