Share This Page

Latrobe man seeks early end to probation

| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A Latrobe man wants his four-year probation sentence to end a year early to avoid being classified as a sexual offender under a new version of Megan's Law that goes into effect next week in Pennsylvania.

The attorney for Jordan Japalucci, 26, told Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell on Thursday that his client did not bargain for the additional part of his sentence, which would be implemented on Dec. 20.

That's when the state's version of the federal Adam Walsh Act will take effect and retroactively classify people as sex offenders, even though the crimes for which they were convicted were not previously covered under Megan's Law.

“Megan's Law, in the real world, the brand, this stamp, is punishment worse than jail time. This new law is like a scarlet letter,” defense attorney Al Lindsay said.

Japalucci pleaded guilty on Dec. 3, 2008, to a misdemeanor count of corruption of minors. He was accused of transporting his 14-year-old girlfriend across state lines, to Florida. During the trip, police said, they had sexual relations. Japalucci was 20 at the time of his arrest.

Prosecutors dismissed more serious sex charges. Japalucci testified on Thursday that he accepted the plea bargain to avoid a felony conviction and the stigma of being labeled a Megan's Law offender. At the time, his misdemeanor count was not considered a Megan's Law violation.

“I told my lawyer, ‘I don't want any Megan's Law or felonies,'” Japalucci testified.

Megan's Law offenses require defendants to register their whereabouts with state police and in some cases it prevents them from living near places where children congregate, such as schools.

In return for his plea, Japalucci was sentenced to nearly a year in prison, which he has served, and four years of probation. His probation runs through Dec. 12, 2013.

He was not subjected to Megan's Law registration, but that will change next week.

Japalucci testified that the new registration requirement could cost him his job and might force him to move. He lives a few blocks from Latrobe Elementary School.

Assistant District Attorney Judy Petrush said that under the new law, corruption of minors is an offense that requires registration. Japalucci, if he is still on probation for that charge, will have to register as a sex offender, she said.

She said Japalucci should not have his probation cut short because of the change.

“The law is pretty clear. The court cannot modify a plea bargain,” she said.

Bell said he would take the issue under advisement and ordered the lawyers to submit legal arguments by Dec. 17.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.