In January 2014, Assembly Bill No. A2636 was enacted into law in the State of New Jersey. It received national attention as it significantly reduced juveniles’ exposure to Megan’s Law registration should they be adjudicated delinquent of a sex crime stemming from “sexting” other juveniles. However, the media largely failed to address the numerous new amendments that considerably alter the application of Megan’s Law and Community Supervision for Life (CSL) and Parole Supervision for Life (PSL).
The practice concentration of the law firm of Maynard & Sumner, LLC is post-conviction sex offender representation. James H. Maynard, Esq., Managing Partner of Maynard & Sumner, and founding chairman of the Megan’s Law Sub-Committee of the Criminal Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, reports the following notable changes, and what you can expect:
- Failure to verify Megan’s Law registration has been upgraded to a third degree crime.
Third degree crimes are punishable by up to five years in state prison and/or up to a $15,000 fine. A conviction not only exposes an offender to significant penalties, but also limits his probability of obtaining a termination of his sex offender status in the future. Our firm is extremely familiar with the Verification provisions of the statute as we successfully litigated it in 2005 at the New Jersey Supreme Court, obtaining a dismissal of the “Failure To Verify” felony indictment against our client.
- A violation of CSL/PSL has been upgraded to a third degree crime.
A conviction of a CSL/PSL violation carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Therefore, it is critical to obtain aggressive criminal defense representation. One way to avoid being charged with a violation is to seek an attorney who can negotiate with parole to modify any Special Condition of Parole that a parolee finds to be unfair or unreasonable. Our firm has successfully modified Special Conditions of Parole, allowing offenders to have access to the internet, share a residence with their children, avoid or remove a GPS device, leave the state and so on.
- Any offender categorized as “repetitive and compulsive,” regardless of tier, will have his Biographical and Sex Offense information published on the publicly available (viewable) New Jersey Sex Offender Registry.
This provision may be the most contentious within the new law, as it will place the personal information of thousands of low-risk (Tier 1) offenders, who have been able to live in relative anonymity until now, on the Internet Registry for public viewing. (Previously, only high-risk offenders and moderate-risk offenders, who have been classified as repetitive and compulsive, were commonly placed on the Registry.) Currently, our firm has a matter on appeal before the New Jersey Appellate Division that seeks to allow offenders, who have been classified “repetitive and compulsive,” to petition for reclassification of their “repetitive/compulsive” status, as well as to modify their verification schedule as a result of their changed “non-repetitive/compulsive” status. If the appeal is successful, it will not only give offenders the right to modify their verification schedule, but also, potentially, remove their personal information from the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.
- A monthly fine of $30.00, called the “Sex Offender Supervision Penalty”, shall be imposed on all CSL and PSL registrants.
The mandatory penalty will fund the Sex Offender Supervision Fund, which will fund the costs and benefits for hiring addition parole officers, and the operational equipment utilized for the monitoring of sex offenders, i.e. computers, vehicles and the like for parole officers. Offenders whose income does not exceed 149% of the federal poverty level will be exempt from contributing to the Fund.
If you, a friend or family member have been charged with a Megan’s Law violation, or know of any Registrant who wishes to terminate Megan’s Law registration, contact our office for a FREE CONSULTATION with James H. Maynard, Esq., who is highly experienced in post-conviction sex offender representation.