Megan's Law: What It Is; How It Began
“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 misguided; some were just vicious.
The law spawned by that unholy alliance took effect in 1994, on Halloween. Some aspects of Megan's Law were made retroactive. Its 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: 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. The Parole Board tells us on its own web site that, as a result of Megan's Law, its caseload of sex offenders has increased from five percent to about one-third.
Megan's Law swallows resources urgently needed for projects throughout New Jersey and the nation. Thus bridges collapse, contaminated food goes to market uninspected, water mains break, and climate change assaults an unprepared nation. All the while, society is too fixated on its useless 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 of New Jersey Upholds Megan's Law
It took less than a year for the Supreme Court of New Jersey to rule upon the constitutionality of Megan's Law. For the most part, the Court upheld its provisions. 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
The Court measured society's concerns correctly. But it was the fear-mongering and fanning of the flames described above that caused those concerns. And even assuming the validity of those concerns, what remained to be seen was the extent to which this social albatross would accomplish its purpose. A 2008 study would provide the answer. This study was prepared by the New Jersey Department of Corrections and funded by the United States Department of Justice.
The study was “Megan's Law: Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy”. It found that Megan's Law yields no benefits whatsoever. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Rien. The entire report is online. Here are pertinent excerpts from its executive summary:
A page on the web site of the New Jersey State Parole Board tells us, “Simply put, the goal of the agency's supervision of sex offenders is to prevent further victimization.” And for all this expense and persecution, one would assume that Megan's Law would yield some benefits to society. Yet the New Jersey Department of Corrections reveals that Megan's Law moves us not a single inch closer to that goal. Megan, herself, of course, remains dead.
Megan's Law: Obligations To Register and Report
Persons stricken by Megan's Law incur various burdens. One burden is that they register with local police. The frequency of required registration is either annual or every ninety days, depending upon details of the conviction. Interim registrations are required on changes of address or employment.
Megan's Law: Parole Supervision for Life
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 containing 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. Information provided during periodic ninety-day or annual registrations can trigger reassessments of prior tier classifications. Provisions exist to challenge Tier Two and Tier Three assignments. These challenges can be based upon incorrect application of the criteria. Sometimes even correct application of the criteria yield an inappropriate tier assignment. These inappropriate tier assignments are sometimes considered be outside the “heartland.” These assignments, too, can be challenged.
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?ci=. 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 www.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: Relief Sometimes Available
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 sometimes available after the person has endured Megan's curse for at least fifteen years. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent in New Jersey for acts committed while under age fourteen can seek relief upon reaching age eighteen.
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 documentation. This documentation will support the appropriateness of providing the relief sought. At a minimum, this documentation will include 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. As indicated above, 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. As with adults, juveniles 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”?
- In view of the fact that Megan's Law has been demonstrated to be totally useless, does subjecting persons to its grotesque requiremements constitute a denial of substantive due process under the New Jersey and United States Constitutions?
Legislators and Judges: This Next Section Is for You
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 certainly includes Megan's Law lawyers), 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-six 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. Allan is a member of NARSOL (National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws). 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, can call their toll-free number, 877-652-6531.
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