U.S. Supreme Court Lets “Megan’s Law” Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against “Megan’s Law,” the New Jersey legislation that requires public notification of names and addresses of sex offenders. Petitioners argued that the law violates the double jeopardy and ex post facto clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The clauses provide protection from double punishment for the same crime and infliction of greater punishment, respectively.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sex offenders must be allowed to challenge their own classification with “clear and convincing” evidence. Higher classifications denote a higher risk to the community, allowing a greater segment of the public to be notified of the offenders’ whereabouts.

All 50 states have passed sex offender registration laws. Thirty-seven states require some level of community notification if a sex offender is living in the area.


Reuters - February 23, 1998

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