NJ Supreme Court Tosses Local Laws Restricting Residency of Sex Offenders
For once, Megan's Law has accomplished something positive in the area of civil liberties for sex offenders. The New Jersey Supreme Court has thrown out two muncipal ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live. The opinion is available here (pdf). Shorter version: Megan's Law trumps the local ordinances.
Under Megan's Law, convicted sex offenders may only live in a residence approved by a parole officer, and must notify authorities when they change addresses and employment. The law forbids anyone from using an offender's criminal record to deny housing.
Both New Jersey towns have ordinances that prohibit sex offenders convicted of offenses against minors from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and day care centers.
118 other NJ towns have similar laws, and I presume those are invalid as well. [More...]
As the ACLU says:
"We continue to feel these laws are counterproductive and don't accomplish their purpose," Corrado said Thursday. "There's no real connection between limiting where someone can live and a sex offense occurring in a park or public place."
The towns are expected go back to the legislature to try and expand Megan's Law.
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