Victory in New Jersey: part of Megan’s Law ruled unconstitutional

By S.P. Sullivan . . . New Jersey’s highest court has ruled a portion of Megan’s Law unconstitutional because it requires juveniles to remain listed on the state’s sex offender registry for life.

The unanimous Supreme Court decision found placing such a lifetime requirement on child offenders violated their due process rights under the state constitution.

“Indeed, categorical lifetime notification and registration requirements may impede a juvenile’s rehabilitative efforts and stunt his ability to become a healthy and integrated adult member of society,” Justice Barry Albin wrote in the decision.

The court reverted to an older requirement that allows juvenile sex offenders to apply to be removed from the registry after 15 years.

The ruling concerned a defendant identified only as C.K., who was convicted of sexually assaulting his adopted brother.

C.K. was 15 and his brother was seven at the time of the offense, which only came to light years later. Prosecutors wanted to try C.K. as an adult but he accepted a plea deal for aggravated sexual assault in juvenile court.

Megan’s Law, landmark legislation creating the sex offender registry, was enacted in 1994. But a 2002 addition to bring New Jersey’s version in line with federal law brought new, even more stringent punishments those convicted of certain sex offenses, including the lifetime registry requirement.

The court’s decision still requires defendants to register as sex offenders, but allows an individual convicted as a juvenile to appeal to a judge who will hold a hearing to determine whether the defendant “has been offense-free and does not likely pose a societal risk” after 15 years.

Read the remainder of the article here at NJ.com

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  • This topic has 26 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 3 months ago by AvatarFlorida Lists You For Peeing In The Park For LIFE!.
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    • #39307 Reply
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      Barre Flynn

      Glad to see NJ becoming more balanced. We all are aware of the challenges of being on a Sex Registry. Hopefully, this will give some young people hope. America needs to understand the benefits of Restorative Justice.

    • #39308 Reply
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      Abolish Registries

      There should not be any type of registry period. It’s just a failed experiment and I want damages and loss of income for 15 years of torture. We have a constitutional government. Politicians and Judges that punish people via constitutional violation should be drawn and quartered.

      • #39370 Reply
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        Jan

        Your comment is spot on. IF people actually knew and understood their constitutional rights we could have collectively ended this long ago. My fear is the newer registrants of today are clueless as to their rights. IF they don’t understand what they are and that they are inalienable it makes it a whole lot easier to take them away…..smh….

      • #39366 Reply
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        Ranger11bv

        Good luck on that…

      • #39389 Reply
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        allie

        I agree with you 100 per cent. Whatever happened to your right to privacy. They might just as well set up a whole town just for sex offenders put them all in there and treat them like lepers. That’s what they’re doing. to these people anyhow so they should at least give them a place to live. The whole thing makes me sick. I’d love to see what would happen to a judges 15 year old son if he was ever arrested for a sex offence. Nothing that’s what. We wouldn’t even hear about it.

        • #39898 Reply
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          R. shrawder

          That’s very true ,,, JOHN WALSH had sex with his now wife when she was a minor ,, everybody knows about it but the Law Makers (hipocrats) wont do a dam thing about it !!!! We arenot living in a free society … we are told that by our constitution but our government totally ignores that document !!!!

          • #42183 Reply
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            Florida Lists You For Peeing In The Park For LIFE!

            Not to mention that JOHN WALSH has made a career of his sons murder and turned himself into a very minor “celebrity” all while standing on the casket. What a soulless POS this person is. He enjoys punishing those he has never meet and did nothing to him or his son and yet actually feels good destroying those lives and ripping families apart!

            You would think he might have some compassion but then again, you need to be a normal human being for that which this evil prick clearly is NOT!

            Read how the Sex offender registries are just political tools used to emotionally manipulate the public with lies and punish American citizens who have paid their debt. Read about it here: SexOffenderTruth.com

    • #39309 Reply
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      JEV

      determine whether the defendant “has been offense-free and does not likely pose a societal risk” after 15 years.

      “Offense Free” could mean lots! Here is Florida to be eligible for a Pardon or Expungement it must be 10 years from the Release Date of your crime and you have a perfect clean record.

      I would think even a DUI conviction may be considered a Societal Risk. This needs to be defined clearer.

      The damage of being on the Registry even if you are taken off the registry remains overwhelming to all the problems it causes vs the protection of Society from Offenders.

      But it is great victory and good start to reformation of Megan’s Law

    • #39311 Reply
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      Seti IIII

      This is a victory??? I don’t think so. A real victory would have been the a complete dismantling/destruction/wipe out/erasure/never to be seen again registry!!! Has anyone ever studied the history of Nazi Germany? Specifically, the “Nuremberg Laws passed by the Reichstag in 1935. So it is with sex offender laws in America today. Compare the two: The Nuremberg Laws made it difficult for Jews to go out into public places such as the theater or shops (Place restrictions for RSOs today). Thereafter, Jews were recognized by the big red “J”, which was short for “Jude,” that was stamped on their passports (SO public registry for RSOs). “Jews Forbidden” signs also went up all over Germany, which made it very difficult for the Jews to get service or lodge in hotels (RSOs have signs in their yard). The Nuremberg Laws were only the beginning to the Nazi policy of Anti-Semitism. The Nuremberg Laws paved the way to the Holocaust, which showed people how far Germans would go to “cleanse” their nation. So, with SO laws, is America trying to “Cleanse the Nation” of so the called sexual predator? Are we headed for concentration camps for RSOs in America? Well yes, because there are already “Civil Commitment” prisons for RSOs all over America. So yes, American SO laws toady are akin to the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany circa 1930s. America SO laws is the legal framework for the systematic PERSECUTION of people who have committed sex offences—-in the past. And a personal hatred I have for SO laws is that they ENABLE the dumb ass public to legally discriminate against an RSO in housing, jobs, education. The public can bypass all civil rights guaranteed under the US Constitution when it comes to RSOs and get away with it. Buts just me.

      • #39899 Reply
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        R. shrawder

        I would say that this is a small victory but like a snowball that starts rolling down hill it gets bigger the farther it rolls ,, but as to your comment I would say your spot on !!! This is exactly like you describe it …. (clapping my hands )

    • #39348 Reply
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      James Coghill

      Excellent ruling. I hope everyone out there realizes that the reasons given for removing a juvenile from the registry would also apply to adults. The United States Constitution clearly states that Congress shall enact no law regarding a class of people. In the same light Congress does not have the power to enact a law to create a class of people and that is exactly what the registry does. Furthermore it creates a class of people from which there is no legal provisions to escape it. By any other definition that is called slavery which was abolished by the 14th amendment.

      • #39356 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        This is a victory, and it is real. It is just not total. It is a long way from total. But every ruling that moves us one step further from having everybody on the registry is a victory. Every step in the right direction is a victory. Just like the things you talk about in your comment, these laws and restrictions did not happen all at once. They were built one at a time, one on top of another, and for many years. They will have to be dismantled the same way. I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. Just because this isn’t everything we want it to be doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appreciated.

    • #39330 Reply
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      Eli

      15 years is still enough time to destroy their life.

      Also, does it mean 15 years from prison release? date of conviction? date of crime (approximate)?
      The article states it “came to light years later.”

      They never seem to think these things through.

      And, when they say “apply to be removed” do they mean it’s a matter of filing paperwork or, going to court and requesting permission from a judge? They seem to ignore that judges deny these request to be removed from the registry.

    • #39339 Reply
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      no hope

      how sad are we and how far have we fallen when this is considered a victory =(
      they are enacting more stringent laws to counteract this little “victory” every day
      he can apply 15 years after finishing his punishment to be taken off, great he will be in his 30’s and jaded from being on the registry for 15 years. living his youth being denied homes/employment etc…
      Why only juveniles? the whole penal system is set up to rehabilitate everyone so why not a chance for adults also?
      Its a joke and by no means a “victory”

    • #39343 Reply
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      Saddles

      I am glad to see that NARSOL pursued this issue for this teenager. It does give meaning to each and everyone of us. Sure its a shame that the parents of this child didn’t use corrective measure’s before notifying police or a shrink or whatever the issue. When law enforcements get involved its not pretty tacky. This was a physical encounter from what I gather from the article, the internet encounters are of a psychological advantage. Its like the devil beating his wife and police want to play the devil. One is a totality different scale to balance and the other is a devious scale to balance but true justice still isn’t absolute in this sin issue.

    • #39359 Reply
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      Jeremy from Indiana

      I agree with Seti, this is not really a victory, but when there’s no news, any news is good news I guess. Most states don’t even register juveniles or if they do, they don’t go on the public registry. A victory would be knocking out range restrictions around the country since they have been proven to be completely useless. The only reason those exist is to keep SOs from neighboring communities from moving there because they are less strict.

      I’m dealing with this crap now actually. My wife kicked me out for reasons I don’t understand and I moved into a place I thought was good, but then when I registered it, they told me of some daycare down the street. Now I have 30 days to find a place and it’s not going well. Either the range restriction gets me or the bg check does. I either soon be homeless or back in jail probably

    • #39363 Reply
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      WearethePeople

      Wonderful news! This is just the beginning of what needs to be done. We need so much more, I feel sorry what happened to Megan. The type of man that committed this crime would be put into Prison for life. The laws that were made afterwards are just so inhumane. What the Laws do for Sex Offenders is paralyzing the abilities of so many man. It takes away the pursued of Happiness, It takes away the right to Freedom. It causes segregation with limited employment opportunity. No matter who we are we should have the right to employment to help build this nation, own a home, were we want. Why would we ever want to take away from young vital people who made a mistake. Who could help make USA great again. Having Megan’s Law and Adam’s Law is taking away from the State, It is taking away from our Government. The Laws need to change.

    • #39362 Reply
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      SW

      I believe it’s 15 years from date of sentence, but perhaps it depends on how it’s executed, or whatever.

      It is a partial victory, in my view. It’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully other states will be brave enough to fix (get rid of) the registry as well.

      Age is rather arbitrary. The development of a human being is different for everyone. Personally, I think so many men in their 40’s are convicted because they face a crisis around that age and react very, very poorly.

      To lump everyone together though, as we all know, is “silly”.

    • #39372 Reply
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      richard

      A step in the right direction, but far away from the right to be a human being and be part of society again.

      As a level 1, who never engaged with anyone, and caught in an illegal sting.. I recently traveled overseas, and was denied entry in a foreign country, only to be photographed and finger printed and treated like a criminal, even though it was 19 years ago,, and no victim… I am so tired of the 20 year crap from NYS… maybe god will take me sooner rather than later… As a disabled veteran who fought for his country.. it is certainly not the constitution I fought for..

    • #39367 Reply
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      BK

      Justice Albin declared:

      Indeed, categorical lifetime notification and registration requirements may impede a juvenile’s rehabilitative efforts and stunt his ability to become a healthy and integrated adult member of society,” Justice Barry Albin wrote in the decision.

      Ok then, WHAT ABOUT HOW IT MAY IMPEDE AN ADULT’S REHABILITATIVE EFFORTS AND STUNT THEIR ABILITY TO BECOME A HEALTHY AND INTEGRATED ADULT MEMBER OF SOCIETY??!
      I think this ruling should be able to set a legal precedent that can be used in favor of adults as well!

    • #39386 Reply
      Avatar
      Mike

      This is a good startthis registry will not come down all at once it will start like a crumbling wall, a brick falls out here nother falls out there pretty soon the wall has no strenght to stand and it falls, there strenght comes from our silence, we need to be smart about our approach, one thing we should run with is Sorna & the government has committed fraud because the government has done many studies on recidivism and all the government studies are done with facts and evidence that shows recidivism is rom 1.6 to 4.1, and Sorna took the word from another group that has done zero studies or facts, that is the meaning of Fraud, Sorna took an ran with it because they wanted to pass these laws which also means fraud and willfully knowing this is causing harm and thats premeditated assult, this is the time to fight harder than ever, plus they are also responsible for murder for knowing people look on registry for people to harm & kill and both Sorna & government know this that makes them responsible for murder & accessories to murder 1so lets get all the evidence and use it against them, thanks and may God bless an help all of us

    • #39394 Reply
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      Saddles

      A glass-half full kind of a person, now thats a kickers Sandy, guess that depends whats in your glass.While this NJ decision might be a small step there is a ways to go. While orgizations can stand up for true justice, these types of offenses are going to take a lot more than NARSOL and other advocates that advocate for this injustice and I’m gonna respect your wishes but in the end who win’s, the truth or the the false witness’s, or the fabracators that induce in some of these opportunities. I’m sure I’m a nobody but when true justice seems to overstep its bounds in a lot of this mayham than thats when we all have to stand up for true justice instead of complaining. Maybe human wisdom does have a point in someone’s language today.

      Patients is a virtue and while NARSOL strives in helping in this issue it seems one is overcome others in this two headed monster. One is physical and the other is induced by mind bending. Whether people want to use ethnical grounds, biblical grounds, or civil grounds, all of this is still an attack in this devious control method at best. One can talk about taking one step at a time also one has to say where did the foundation of true justice come from or who holds the foundation of justice. If I’m not mistaken there is a sword that people dont think of using today. So are we all being attacked by government that over throw in a lot of this ordeal of blind justice.

    • #39457 Reply
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      Tim l

      This is the part of the story where the two parties are exposed as the unconscionable parties they truly are. Megan’s law was upheld against ex-post attack based upon an imperative interest. Protecting the welfare of vulnerables , namely kids. Our two parties are placing kids 10 and up on the electronic pillory. So much for the imperitive.

      Justice Roberts was the guy defending the distortion in DOE. His ability to turn the question on its head directly led to his appointment to SCOTUS LEADERSHIP.

      So much proof of “affirmative disability” has evolved over time that the people’s ” intent” in the first place is obvious. Mr. Scalia stated it himself, only the clearest proof would suffice to override stated intent. Even professional liars get caught up and so they have with use of an electronic pillory.

      The most disgusting thing is that society is still faced with sexual assault rates beyond what’s tolerable. Turns out the California rapist and killer was a cop. Is it possible the constitution killers were lawyers?

    • #39536 Reply
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      Rajendra

      With this victory as a precedence and several other victories on the ground of Constitutionality, can’t we challenge the whole entirety of the Megan’s Law since this law and the surrounding laws are clearly unconstitutional? Isn’t the time more right now?

    • #39583 Reply
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      obvious answers

      interesting concept of victory.. I doubt it can be said something is a victory by saying 1 out of 1000 terrible things they wanted to do is temporarily delayed until the next horrible law that will include 101 more.

    • #39579 Reply
      Avatar
      Nathan

      IMO, this is not VICTORY, but it is an important step. The courts recognize that the registry “stunt his ability to become a healthy and integrated adult member of society.” Since the courts recognize this detrimental aspect of the registry, they must conclude that it is punitive in it’s very nature. And if punitive then unconstitutional on multiple grounds, ex post facto and double jeopardy to name a couple. Remember, that by the time this ruling was made, CK must have been an adult. So the ruling by necessity would apply to all people on the registry. The next step would be to recognize that any time on the registry will stunt the SOs ability to become a healthy and integrated member of society, unless the court recognizes that it is unimportant for an adult offender to become healthy and integrated.

      There have been many good and poignant comments on this post and I thank you for your input because this is such an important topic. It defines who America is as a society. Do we continue down this path of ostracization much like NAZI Germany did with Jews and what they might term as undesirables? Or do we become something better and reverse the bad decisions of previous legislature and courts? Things like this provide a sense of hope, while decisions like the PA legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf made earlier this year, to create another ex post facto unconstitutional law following the landmark decision of the PA Supreme Court to call SORNA punitive and unconstitutional dash those hopes.

      I would like to recount how the registry and parole has impacted me negatively in my attempt to reintegrate. I made some horrible decisions and did a terrible thing over 15 years ago. I was released on parole over 3 years ago. I had high hopes because I have a bachelor’s degree and furthered my education while I was imprisoned. I prepared a decent resume and sent it to multiple employers. Before being released, I was even given dates for several interviews based solely on my accurate resume.

      When I was released to a halfway (prison) house, I was informed by my newly assigned parole officer that I was required to disclose my crime to my employee despite the fact that I was released to a “ban the box” city. So, at every interview, I performed my duty to inform and was denied repeatedly. I struggled for months to find anything. I finally settled for a position as a driver at a thrift store with a wage I hadn’t made for over 20 years. I was also repeatedly denied housing due to my requirement to disclose and have a home plan approved by parole (during this process the parole agent would meet with the landlord and disclose my crime in the worst terms possible to ensure that I had already done so). Fortunately, I was able to find a landlord through one of my co workers who was also an SO.

      While a driver, I continued to search for a job or career related to my previous training to no avail. During the interview, following my disclosure, I would be thanked for my time and sent on my way to never hear again from them. And this despite the fact of more laws that specify which jobs are permitted to deny you employment.

      Even with this struggle, I was able to land another job for a decent pay raise. At this position, a co worker found out about my situation per the Megan’s law website. The “facts” presented there were quickly spread through the ranks and my spineless democrat employer decided to release me even though my work ethic and talent was impeccable.

      Had I not been frugal, I also would have lost my living space due to eviction. Amongst this struggle, I was subject to ostracization by potential romantic partners due to them googling my name (it is fairly unique) and my registration pops up within the first 5 search results and/or by my disclosure of my past per the requirement of my parole officer. And even random harassment by text (I’m still unsure how they got my phone number) from anonymous sources.

      Following a period of unemployment, I found a minimum wage job as a driver. I have since proved myself and received some raises but am still paid well below a wage I was making following my graduation from college 18 years ago. Hope is slim to ever overcome this obstacle. Additionally, I have searched for housing in a safer neighborhood. Crime is rampant where I live. My vehicle, which was parked near where I live, directly in front of my apartment was struck by bullets fired during a shootout in the middle of the night. One potential landlord, a retired police officer, denied me immediately. A second denied me after I had paid for a background check following his reassurance (lies) that my crime would have no effect on my application. Hope is slim that my situation will ever truly improve.

      I send my energy to the universe to remove the blindness from American society and it’s leaders, to make decisions based on rational sounds scientific findings. Good luck to all who find themselves under the Draconian rule of the oppressors.

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