AP News: NJ Sex-Offender Residency Limits Rejected
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey towns cannot ban sex offenders from living near schools, parks, or other places where children gather, a state appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
The three-judge panel found that New Jersey's Megan's Law was "pervasive and comprehensive" and should be the only law governing how sex offenders are treated.
The towns banned adults convicted of sex offenses against a child from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park, playground, church or other place "where children might congregate."
Similar laws are in place in many states and dozens of New Jersey towns; those in New Jersey will be at risk if the latest ruling stands.
Appellate Judge Joseph F. Lisa, writing for the court, said the Cherry Hill and Galloway ordinances "interfere with and frustrate the purposes and operation of the statewide scheme."
"Megan's Law is already accepted as constitutional and as the state's comprehensive approach to sex offenders. The residency requirements do not contribute to rehabilitation and may in fact undermine it," said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the state chapter.
State Public Defender Yvonne Smith Segars filed a brief urging the appeals court to strike down the laws.
"You can't impose unrealistic burdens on people and expect them to reintegrate. They paid their debt to society and are under supervision," Segars said.
* Court ruling: http://tinyurl.com/5tjwo5