New Jersey Supreme Court says new rules can’t be retroactively applied

By The Associate Press

An amendment to Megan’s Law that tightens the rules on who can seek to be removed from a sex offender registry can’t be applied retroactively to crimes committed before the amendment was passed, New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The case involved a man, identified by the initials J.D.-F., who was working as a manager at a McDonald’s in Hillsborough in 2001 when he was accused of improperly touching two teenage boys who worked there. He was convicted in December 2002 of criminal sexual contact and child endangerment and sentenced to time in the county jail and probation.

Under Megan’s Law, he was required to publicly register with law enforcement as a sex offender. The law allows offenders to apply to be removed from the list if they are offense-free for 15 years and are no longer considered a safety threat to others.

Earlier in 2002, between when J.D.-F’s crimes were committed and his conviction, the state Legislature had amended Megan’s Law to prohibit those convicted of certain offenses or of more than one offense from applying to end their registration requirements.

In Monday’s 7-0 ruling, however, the Supreme Court reversed and wrote that the amendment couldn’t be applied retroactively to J.D.-F’s case since the crimes had occurred before it was passed, and the date of those actions “triggers the legal consequences from which a person seeks relief.”

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3 Thoughts to “New Jersey Supreme Court says new rules can’t be retroactively applied”

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  1. Tim in WI

    The new rules were in fact actually applied. That’s how you know any constitutional expectations a defendant ( or citizen for that matter) might have because they were taught those rights really exist in school, in fact do not exist in the modern criminal justice system. Citizens can forget about the presumption of innocence and fair trials. Obviously that no longer is a reality. It is ALWAYS easiest for administrative agents ( cops) to ask for forgiveness from courts rather than look for permission by correct interpretations of law. Obviously, both the original bench court and NJCOA were not as informed nor the educated lawyers as one may think. Never has been such a thing as an inept government agent… right?

  2. Joseph

    Here in Georgia, until 2006 the law said that a person would no long have to register as a sex offender 10 years after being released from prison. Yes, that was poorly worded, but true. It was not clear whether that meant released from prison or 1years after the expiration of the sentence. BUT, in 2006 that all changed, and registration was deemed to be for life.
    My offense was committed in 2002 and I would love to challenge my continued registration in court. Would anyone like to join me as a plaintiff?

    1. CherokeeJack

      People all over the U.S have challenged it with mixed results. Just depends on the judges you are dealt. I wish you well. It is a very expensive road to go down, otherwise I would challenge mine. There was NOT even a registry when my offense took place, nor when arrested, nor when I was sentenced.
      You might have better luck getting a few people together and doing a class action.
      Good luck.