Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Jersey Town Rejects Sex Offender Residency Restriction

As reported here today, the Newton Town Council unanimously voted down a proposed ordinance on Monday that would have prevented convicted sex offenders from living anywhere in the town. According to the article, however, the vote was not predicated on substantive concerns about the efficacy of the proposed ordinance, but rather by the Council's correct assessment that the ordinance would invariably be struck down if challenged.

As I noted previously here, two similar ordinances were struck down by Superior Court judges this year. Cherry Hill's 2005 ordinance, the most recent be invalidated, banned sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park, church or other place "where children might congregate."


Nick Ames said...

Just where are sex offenders suppose to live? We keep pushing them to the edges of society and many if not most will just no longer register. Why should they if they keep being punished. It serves us better to know where they are living especially if they are living with family and friends who help them rather than by themselves alone and bitter

Ben Barlyn said...

Exactly, Nick. In each case where an ordinance was struck down, the trial judge specifically found that the municipal residency resriction was incompatible with core of Megan's Law, namely, the notification requirement.

kevin wiggins said...

If anyone thinks these laws are not punishment has thier head up thier A**. How can we call ourselves America when we are telling citizens we they can or cannot live. IT is clear that the only reasons these laws are made up is to keep sex offenders away from thier town, and they are using the saftey of the children issue as a smokescreen, there has been no studys done to support thier claim. keep giving the sex offenders reasons not to register and then we will have a problem that we will have small town councilmen to thank.