CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-EQUAL PROTECTION-CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS

December 6th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Stradford v. Sec’y Pa. Dep’t of Corr., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 31021 (November 9, 2022) (Porter, C.J.)  Class representatives Lacey Stradford, William Nettles, Jesse Stroud, William Scott, and Richard Richardson (“Appellees”), all convicted sex offenders, allege the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”) enforces a policy that unconstitutionally discriminates against sex offenders. The policy requires DOC to consider, among other things, “community sensitivity” when it evaluates parolees for halfway house placement. The District Court entered summary judgment for Appellees, holding that sex offenders and non-sex offenders are similarly situated and consideration of “community sensitivity” when making halfway house assignments is irrational.  But not all crimes are alike. The differences among sex crimes, and between sex crimes and non-sex crimes, preclude the purported similarity between sex offenders and non-sex offenders in this case. A discretionary grant of parole cannot erase those differences. In any event, DOC’s halfway house policy considering “community sensitivity,” among many other factors, is rationally related to more than one legitimate government interest. So we will reverse and remand for entry of summary judgment for the DOC.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]

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