New Jersey, the birthplace of Megan’s Law, has had mixed success with the implementation of a law that casts a very wide net.
Part of the problem is that the sex offender registry mandated by Megan’s Law includes both violent repeat offenders as well as juveniles whose curious explorations got a bit out of hand. Statutory rape that can land an 18-year-old teen on the list for consensual sex with his 15-year-old first love is not the same as a 40-year-old man sodomizing his nephew.
The permanence of the registry requirements is also problematic. Those sex offenders who were convicted under Megan’s Law are sometimes compelled to register for the rest of their lives. While the New Jersey State Police state that those convicted of only one sex offense who meet other standards may apply to the court for removal from the registry, there is no guarantee that permission will be granted. Meanwhile, the restrictions imposed by the registry can lead to an extremely difficult life for someone who never was, or no longer is, a threat to anyone.
Another problem with Megan’s Law is that it only encumbers those individuals convicted of sex offenses who are abiding by the law. It does nothing to address those scofflaw offenders who thumb their noses at the registry and move about freely in the community with no supervision whatsoever. However, it is the compliant former offenders who are at risk for losing their jobs, housing or even families due to the publicized registry.
Because of these and other reasons, it is vital to retain competent defense counsel with the skill and knowledge to robustly defend you if you are charged as a sex offender in New Jersey.
Source: parentingsquad.com, “The Trouble With Megan’s Law,” Maggie Wells, accessed June 18, 2015