Megan's Law in New Jersey: Bring Your Pitchforks
- What is Megan's Law?
- How did it Begin?
- How Effective is it?
- Can I Make the Hurting Stop?
- Answers to These Questions, and More, Below
“Megan's Law” is a social and legal horror. It started in New Jersey. Then, like a dreadful and highly contagious disease, it quickly spread nationwide. Its federal version is the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act,” 42 U.S.C. Section 16911.
Megan's Law began with the brutal rape and murder of a little girl, Megan Kanka. The perpetrator was a previously convicted sex offender who lived nearby. Megan's parents were devastated, as would be any parents suffering such a tragedy. Needing to do something, anything, to deal with their grief, they focused upon alleged inadequacies of the New Jersey legal system.
Megan's parents, Maureen Kanka in particular, reasoned that, had they only known that a convicted sex offender lived nearby, they could have better protected their daughter. So they started a campaign to require neighborhood notification of nearby convicted sex offenders. The Kankas found a ready ally with fascist New Jersey Radio 101.5.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Kanka and fascist New Jersey Radio 101.5 fanned the flames and whipped up public frenzy. Politicians jumped on the band wagon. Some were demagogic; some were cowardly; many were simply misguided. The law spawned by that unholy alliance took effect on Halloween, 1994. Some aspects were made retroactive. That social dragnet now wreaks unimaginable hardship upon hundreds of thousands of persons. The vast majority of those persons pose no threat to the public. Some were actually innocent.Megan's Law: Obligations to Register and Report
Persons stricken by Megan's Law incur various burdens. One burden is to register with local police. The frequency of required registration is either annual or every ninety days, depending upon details of the conviction. Additionally, adults convicted of Megan's Law offenses are placed on parole supervision for life (originally designated community supervision for life).
The restrictions and limitations imposed upon persons placed upon parole supervision for life or community supervision for life are obscene. They exceed by far anything ever imposed by the totalitarian Soviet Union. These limitations are spelled out in the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 10A:71-6.11 (community supervision for life), and N.J.A.C. 10A:71-6.12 (parole supervision for life). At the whim of the parole board, a person may be required to wear a bracelet or anklet within which is a gps radio transmitter that tracks his every move. They can require polygraph examinations “to reduce the offender's denial mechanisms.”
Parole supervision for life is imposed only upon adults. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent are not subjected to parole supervision for life, even when the underlying actions would have constituted sex- or sex-related offenses if committed by an adult.Megan's Law: Community Notification
Persons placed on Megan's Law are subjected to community notification. Their names are placed on a national sex offender registry. Information collected in the ongoing registration process is disseminated to persons living or working near where the registrant lives, works, or goes to school. The degree to which the community is saturated with this information depends on which of three “tiers” or risk levels, the registrant is assigned. Tier One is the lowest tier, Tier Three the highest. The tier to which one is assigned is determined, for the most part, by thirteen criteria. Provision exists to challenge Tier Two and Tier Three assignments.Megan's Law: The Internet
Megan's Law requires New Jersey State Police to place onto the internet personal information concerning convicted individuals. The specific statute that calls for placing this information is N.J.S. 2C:7-13. Information placed as a result of N.J.S. 2C:7-13 includes name, address, date of birth, crime for which the individual was convicted, and physical description. Their photos are displayed.
Under the statute, not everyone convicted of a Megan's Law offense has their information placed on the New Jersey State Police web site. In essence, information for all persons classified in Tier Three is placed there. Information for persons classified in Tier One is placed only when conduct was “found to be characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior.” For persons classified in Tier Two, additional factors and combinations of factors are examined to determine whether their information will be added. It is necessary to read N.J.S. 2C:7-13 closely in order to understand how this determination is made.
Various non-government sites also spew forth this swill. One example is homefacts.com. Megan's Law Lawyers in New Jersey believe that obtaining legal recourse against these vermin, if available at all, will be difficult. The effort would be costly.
Relief through non-judicial means may be available. For example, the web host for homefacts.com is GoDaddy. GoDaddy, like many web hosts, has a page on which people can report Internet abuse by its clients. The specific page for GoDaddy on which people can report abuse is https://supportcenter.godaddy.com/AbuseReport/Index. Victims of homefacts.com can click on the box labeled “Inappropriate Content”, select the fourth item that references “personal information”, and proceed from there.
The web host for any particular site can be readily determined from whois.com. Registrants would enter the site URL in the box towards the upper right. This procedure will reveal the name of the web host, and provide an email address where abuse may be reported. Megan's Law Lawyers in New Jersey invite feedback on whether web hosts will respond favorably to complaints of this nature.Megan's Law: Social Costs
Megan's Law cripples those that it directly affects, thus diminishing their ability to contribute to society. It goes far beyond the crime that begat it. The viciousness and mindlessness with which these laws are implemented and applied is exemplified by the plight of Zachery Anderson, an Indiana teenager. His ordeal was documented in an article in the July 5, 2015, New York Times.
Megan's Law's causes a grotesque misapplication of social resources. Its costs to New Jersey and the nation are staggering. A sprawling bureaucracy sprang up to implement and enforce Megan's Law. The cost of that bureaucracy is enormous. Megan's Law diverts urgently needed resources from projects throughout New Jersey and the nation. Thus bridges collapse, contaminated food goes uninspected, water mains break, and climate change assaults an unprepared nation. All the while, society is too fixated on its witch hunt to give those real and present dangers the attention they so desperately need. Discarded in the process are the outcasts caught in Megan's jaws. They are left to just cope as best they can, and let the devil take the hindmost.Supreme Court Upholds Megan's Law
It took less than a year for the Supreme Court of New Jersey to rule upon the validity of those provisions. For the most part, it upheld them. The specific case upholding those provisions was Doe v. Poritz, 142 N.J. 1 (1985). A footnote on page 15 of the Poritz decision reveals the Court members' collective thinking (emphasis added):
Megan's Law: A Complete Failure
Concerning the basic facts, however, there is no dispute: as far as society is concerned, sex offenses of the kind covered by the law are among the most abhorrent of all offenses; the relative recidivism rate of sex offenders is high compared to other offenders; treatment success of sex offenders exhibiting repetitive and compulsive characteristics is low; and the time span between the initial offense and re-offense can be long.
The Court measured society's concerns correctly. But it was the fear-mongering and fanning of the flames described above that caused these concerns. And even assuming the validity of these concerns, what remained to be seen was the extent to which this social albatross would accomplish their purpose.
For all this expense and persecution, one would assume that Megan's Law would yield some benefits to society. In truth, it yields no benefits whatsoever. Zero. Megan, herself, of course, remains dead. “Megan's Law: Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy,” is a 2008 study prepared by the New Jersey Department of Corrections, funded by the United States Department of Justice. The entire report is available online. Here are pertinent excerpts from its executive summary:
Megan's Law: Relief Sometimes Available
The overall conclusion is that Megan's Law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan's Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. Sentences received prior to the implementation of Megan's Law were nearly twice as long as those received after the law's passage, but time served has been approximately the same before and after the law's enactment. Significantly fewer sexual offenders have been paroled after the implementation of Megan's Law, largely due to changes in sentencing. Start-up costs were $555,565, and current costs (2007) were approximately $3.9 million for the responding counties. The study involved three methodologies and samples. Phase one involved a 21-year trend study of sex offenses in each of New Jersey's counties and the State as a whole. This period covered 10 years prior to and 10 years after the law's implementation, as well as the year of implementation. Phase two obtained data on 550 sexual offenders released from 1990 to 2000, with attention to outcomes of interest. Phase three collected data on implementation and ongoing costs of administering the law. 7 tables, 8 figures, and 25 references.
As indicated above, Megan's Law sentences are for life. Many States including New Jersey have provisions for relief , but only after passage of many years. Relief in New Jersey becomes sometimesavailable after the person has endured Megan's curse for at least fifteen years.
There are actually two aspects to removal from Megan's Law. The first aspect is elimination of the requirement for periodic registration. The second aspect is release from the requirement of Parole Supervision for Life. A person subject to both requirements would normally explore relief from both at the same time. However, criteria for relief for each of the two burdens are not identical. A person may thus qualify for relief from one of these requirements, but not the other. Another page on this site provides the text of the relevant statutes.
Relief for those on the sex offender registry is sought by preparing and filing a petition with the court. The petition must have supporting affidavits, with exhibits. These exhibits document the appropriateness of providing the relief that is sought. At a minimum, this documentation will include a criminal history, as well as a psychological evaluation. Educational documentation, a cv and, perhaps, letters of reference could prove helpful. These applications are filed in the county of the person's current residence. This county of current residence will often not be the county where the criminal charges originally arose.
Registration and community notification requirements are imposed upon juveniles adjudicated delinquent on account of qualfiying sex offenses, as well as for adults. For juveniles adjudicated delinquent on account of acts committed while under fourteen years of age, the law is somewhat different. Those individuals can be relieved of community notification and their requirement to register when they reach age eighteen. All persons seeking relief from the requirements of Megan's Law must satisfy the court that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. They must establish this by “clear and convincing evidence.”Megan's Law: Legal Issues
Aside from inclusion in the sex offender registry, persons subject to Megan's Law can encounter other legal and Constitutional issues. These issues can include the following:
- Is a person whose name is on the sex offender registry allowed to move from New Jersey to another state? If so, what requirements exist?
- What happens if a person on the sex offender registry living in another state wishes to move to New Jersey?
- Can a New Jersey judge grant relief to a New Jersey resident who is subject to Megan's Law on account of a conviction in another State?
- Doesn't subjecting a person to Megan's Law for an offense that occurred before Megan's Law was even enacted violate his rights under the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution? And if so, what can he do about it?
- Can a failure to register as a sex offender as required under Megan's Law be cured?
- Can a failure to report to a parole officer as required under Megan's Law be cured?
- Besides complying with New Jersey requirements, what more must a person do in order to comply with federal requirements under the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act”?
Honorable Leaders: This page documents the insanity and the worthlessness of Megan's Law. Megan's Law serves only to enrich the legal/prison complex (and, yes, that includes the Law Offices of Allan Marain), all at the expense of society. It is completely counterproductive “feel-good” legislation. Are there not some legislators with the courage to tell it like it is? And judges: Isn't it time to stop imprisoning these technical violators of a worthless law? Folks, after twenty-four consecutive years of failure, have we learned nothing? When Megan's Law is ultimately repealed, the Law Offices of Allan Marain will take a financial hit. That's all right! It will free up their resources, enabling them to charge fees for matters that legitimately belong in court. Boldly defying conventional wisdom did much for Bernie Sanders. It did even more for Donald Trump. Had Governor Christie the vision and the courage to skillfully attack this albatross, it could have propelled even him to the White House. In like manner, it can immeasurably advance your own careers. Have your campaign managers call me: I'll show them how. So, if not out of concern for society, then for your own self-interests decry this cancerous law. Help rid New Jersey of this legal atrocity.New Jersey Megan's Law Lawyer
Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are New Jersey Megan's Law Lawyers. Both lawyers have been in practice since before Megan's Law came into existence. Both lawyers are highly qualified to deal with issues indicated above, and to assess eligibility for removal from Megan's Law, and to seek a court order for removal. Both are experienced New Jersey sex crimes lawyers. Both lawyers can forcefully and effectively represent the accused individual before their ever being subjected to Megan's Law in the first place.
Persons wishing to explore relief from the horrors of Megan's Law, and persons facing sex charges, are invited to discuss their situation with them.