A state appellate court on Wednesday overturned a Luzerne County judge’s guilty verdict for a man accused of failure to comply with registration requirements as a sexual offender.
Pittston police in August 2015 arrested Alvin Moore, 58, at a residence on Wilford Street after receiving a tip that a sex offender was living at the house.
Court records say Moore was sentenced in York County in 1998 to four-to-eight years in prison after he pleaded no contest to charges of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
When Moore was sentenced, he was required to register his address for 10 years with authorities under the former version of the state’s registration requirements.
Upon his release, Moore relocated to Hampton, Va., where he registered with authorities, and relocated to Bronx, N.Y., where he also registered.
At the time of his arrest in Pittston, Moore was listed as a sex offender in New York, court records say.
While Moore was imprisoned and residing in Virginia and then New York, the state’s registration requirements under Megan’s Law changed, requiring those convicted of rape to register their address for life.
Moore opted for a bench trial held before Luzerne County Judge David Lupas in March 2017.
During the trial, prosecutors called two witnesses, the arresting police officer and a postal worker, who testified he delivered two pieces of mail with Moore’s name to the Wilford Street address, court records say.
Moore claimed he was visiting his girlfriend who resided at the Wilford Street house and was thinking about moving in with her.
Lupas convicted Moore of failure to comply with registration as a sexual offender, and sentenced him to 40-to-80 months in state prison. Lupas declined to overturn Moore’s conviction on a direct appeal.
Moore challenged his conviction by filing an appeal with the state Superior Court alleging he was not subjected to lifetime registration requirements because his no contest plea took place years before the Pennsylvania legislature amended the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act in 2012. The amended act required convicted rapists to register for life.
A three member panel of the Superior Court opined, “…we conclude that (Moore’s) conviction for failing to register … must be vacated.
“We remand this case to the trial court to determine and, if necessary, notify (Moore) of his registration requirements,” the appellate court ruled.
Moore’s appellate attorney, Matthew P. Kelly, could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.