May 12, 2009
Re: Registration and Regulation of Convicted Sex Offenders
With the Supreme Court’s recent decision affirming the invalidity of local sex offender ordinances, which sought to regulate where sex offenders may reside, it is now crucial for the State to respond to the Court’s statement that only the legislature can act to set standards to protect New Jersey’s children from sexual predators. (See our letter of May 7 at our website, http://www.njslom.org/ml050709-residency.html)
Several legislators are sponsoring bills designed to provide for the regulation of convicted sex offenders. We commend them for their leadership. However, none of these bills provide a comprehensive solution to the problem. We have contacted the legislators, indicating to them that we would welcome the opportunity to work with them, with their staffs and with the Attorney General’s office to develop legislation that will be effective and will be able to survive legal challenges
Our goal is build on Megan’s Law by fixing a uniform, state-wide standard on where convicted sex offenders can reside, and where they can loiter, while recognizing that there are, under Megan’s Law, real differences between the Tier classifications of those offenders. It is appropriate and necessary to have strong controls on the predators most likely to repeat their offenses. We believe that it is possible to address all potentially dangerous situations and activities, in a manner which will be able to withstand an inevitable legal challenge by the ACLU. Now that the Court has spoken, we believe it is the responsibility of the Legislature to act.
We will be keep you posted on our work on this vital matter.
If you have any questions, please contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Again, thank you for your leadership and for all that you do for the people of our State.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.