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Megan’s Law

An Overview

This is meant as a general guide to Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life which passed in 1994.[1]  Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life has under gone many statutorily changes. Not every issue is addressed, and this should be no substitute for speaking to an experienced attorney who regularly practices in this area given the constant changes in law.

 

Since the mid-1990’s, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation, collectively referred to as “Megan’s Law.” Underlying these laws is the belief that notifying the public of the presence of sex offenders in their community allows citizens to take protective measures against potentially dangerous sex offenders who live nearby.

 

In 2004, the Legislature passed Parole Supervision for Life
(“PSL”), and, later, Community Supervision for Life (“CSL”). Those offenders who were convicted of a sex crime between 1994 and 2004 are registered under CSL, and post 2004 are registered under PSL.  Nevertheless, PSL and CSL are fairly similar, and it is the difference between Megan’s Law and CSL / PSL that can be confusing.

 

Megan’s Law is a set of laws that require registration to law enforcement and, in some cases, community notification which is enforced by the County Prosecutor’s Office, and local police departments.  In contrast, the New Jersey State Parole Board operates PSL and CSL. PSL and CSL are programs specific to the supervision of convicted sex offenders which can be quite onerous.  Many individuals in New Jersey who are convicted of sex offenders are subject to both Megan’s Law and PSL/CSL

 

Megan’s Law

 

The Registration and Community Notification Laws (RCNL) also known as Megan’s Law, NJSA 2C:7-1 et. seq. provided for the creation of a state registry of sex offenders and a community notification procedure which places offenders into three categories which supposed distinguishes by the level of risk of re-offense by the offender.  As of July 1, 2013, the New Jersey State Police report that 14,995 persons have registered under Megan’s Law.

 

Despite its sweeping implications, in 1995 the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. Doe v. Poritz, 142 N.J. 1 (1995). In 1997, the Third Circuit held the due process standard for a hearing is clear and convincing evidence, with the burden of persuasion on the State for determining the risk level of the offender, and the geographic area within which notice is to occur.

 

 

MEGAN’S LAW OVERVIEW

 

REGISTRATION  —-   Offenders convicted of certain sex offense(s)

are required to register with law enforcement

authorities.

 

RISK OF RE-OFFENSE

DETERMINED AND

TIER ASSIGNED  —-   Prosecutor determines risk of re-offense based

on the Risk Assessment Scale, and assigns

registrant to a “tier.”

 

REGISTRANT

NOTIFIED ——           Registrant given notice of prosecutor’s tier

assignment, proposed groups and individuals,

if any, to be notified and inclusion on the Sex

Offender Internet Registry.

 

 

OBJECTION —–          Registrant required to object to tier assignment, scope of notification and inclusion on the Sex Offender Internet Registry within 14 days of notice.

 

 

HEARING ——            Judge reviews prosecutor’s tier assignment,

proposed scope of notification, and inclusion

on the Sex Offender Internet Registry, and

hears arguments from the prosecutor and

registrant, and/or registrant’s attorney.

 

FINDING —–              Judge determines final tier assignment, scope

of notification, and inclusion on the Sex

Offender Internet Registry and enters

appropriate order.

COMMUNITY

NOTIFICATION  —–   Groups or persons are notified by law

enforcement authorities.

 

 

SEX OFFENDER

INTERNET REGISTRY  —    If ordered by the Judge, the Registrant will be included on the Sex Offender Internet

Registry.

Once an individual is sentenced to Megan’s Law, then the county prosecutor’s will prepare a risk assessment which is provided below.

 

 

Megan’s Law applies to following offense that an individual has been convicted of:

 

  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
  • Kidnapping a child who is under 16
  • Luring or Enticing of a minor
  • Criminal Sexual Contact (if victim under 18)
  • Kidnapping (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
  • Criminal Restraint (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
  • False Imprisonment (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
  • Promotion of Prostitution if a child
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Sexual Contact)
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child by receiving in any manner, with the purpose to disseminate in any manner, any kind of media or construction of a child involved in a prohibited sexual act or simulation thereof.

 

Every prosecutor’s office has a Megan’s Law Unit made of Detectives and Prosecutors who monitor, screen, tier and litigate each individual on Megan’s Law.  This team will be obtaining information about your matter.  Oftentimes, the information relied upon by the detectives and prosecutors outdated and incorrect.  Make sure that you look closely at the tiering paperwork.  Here is a list of the prosecutor offices that may deal with your case:

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office

4997 Unami Blvd.

  1. O. Box 2002

Mays Landing, N.J. 08330-6350

(609) 909-7800

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office

10 Main Street, Room 215

Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

(201) 646-2300

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office

New Court Facility

49 Rancocas Rd.

P.O. Box 6000

Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060

(609) 265-5035

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Camden County Prosecutor’s Office

25 N. 5th Street, 3rd Floor

Camden, New Jersey 08102-1231

(856) 225-8400

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office

DN-110 4 Moore Road

Cape May Court House, New Jersey 08210

(609) 465-1135

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office

43 Fayette Street

CN-01

Bridgeton, New Jersey 08302

(856) 453-0486

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

Essex County Courts Building

50 W. Market Street

Newark, New Jersey 07102

(973) 621-4700

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office

Justice Complex

Hunter & Euclid Streets

P.O. Box 623

Woodbury, New Jersey 08096

(856) 384-5500

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office

Administration Building

595 Newark Avenue

Jersey City, New Jersey 07306

(201) 795-6400

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office

Justice Complex

65 Park Avenue

P.O. Box 756

Flemington, New Jersey 08822

(908) 788-1129

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office

Court House

P.O. Box 8068

Trenton, New Jersey 08650

(609) 989-6309

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office

25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor

New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

(732) 745-3300

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

71 Monument Park

Freehold, New Jersey 07728-1261

(732) 431-7160

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Morris County Prosecutor’s Office

Administration & Records Building

P.O. Box 900

Morristown, New Jersey 07963-0900

(973) 285-6200

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office

119 Hooper Avenue

P.O. Box 2191

Toms River, New Jersey 08754

(732) 929-2027

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office

401 Grand Street

Paterson, New Jersey 07505

(973) 881-4800

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Salem County Prosecutor’s Office

Fenwick Building

87 Market Street

P.O. Box 462

Salem, New Jersey 08079-0462

(856) 935-7510

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

40 N. Bridge Street

P.O. Box 3000

Somerville, New Jersey 08876

(908) 231-7100

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office

19-21 High Street

Newton, New Jersey 07860

(973) 383-1570

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Union County Prosecutor’s Office

32 Rahway Avenue

Elizabeth, New Jersey 07202-2115

(908) 527-4500

 

Megan’s Law Unit

Warren County Prosecutor’s Office

Court House

413 2nd Street

Belvidere, New Jersey 07823

(908) 475-6275

 

 

RRAS: Tiering and What It Means

 The Risk Assessment or RRAS is designed to provide a score for an individual to determine what level of a risk they pose to the community. It is broken up into three tiers: one, two and three.  Tier one is the lowest level, and only requires that an individual will notify their local police department by registering with them once a year. No notification to community groups and the individual is not on the internet.  A RRAS scoring of 0 to 36 is Tier One.

 

Tier two is a moderate risk which increases the groups that are notified for example:  all local educational institutions, licensed day care centers, summer camps.  Under Tier two, commonly the individual will need to register with the police department every 90 days.  Tier two also permits an individual be placed on the internet with a photograph. A RRAS scoring of 37 to 73 is Tier Two.  Tier Three is community notification with the most wide reaching implications, and is a RRAS scoring of 74 to 111.

 

The RRAS consists of four categories: the seriousness of the registrant’s offense, the registrant’s offense history, characteristics of the registrant, and community support available to the registrant. These four categories provide for a total of thirteen separate criteria on: (1) Degree of Force; (2) Degree of Contact; (3) Age of the Victim; (4) Victim Selection; (5) Number of Offenses/Victims; (6) Duration of Offensive Behavior; (7) Length of Time Since Last Offense; (8) History of Antisocial Acts; (9) Response to Treatment; (10) Substance Abuse; (11) Therapeutic Support; (12) Residential Support; and (13) Employment/Educational Stability. These criteria are evaluated and assigned a point score. The combined points from all criteria determine the final score for tiering purposes.

 

The Attorney General Guidelines specific that, “the decision as to which groups should be notified should be made on a case by case, following careful review.”  Prosecutors should be prepared to set forth a factually basis for scope of notification by an means which will meet the burden or clear and convincing evidence that the area designated fulfills the requirements that these are the person and institutions likely to encounters. ( see pgs. 27 of Attorney General Guidelines.)

 

To be likely to encounter the offender, the prosecutor must “demonstrated that contact with the offender is reasonably certain,” R.F., supra, at 385.  “Factors other than geography may be considered if they are relevant to the offender’s likely whereabouts, such as the offender’s proclivity for certain locations and geographic considerations may be affects by the nature of the offender’s characteristics and the institution in question, e.g., a repetitive and compulsive pedophile and a large elementary school.”  Doe v. Poritz, 142 N.J. 1, 37 (1995).  Thus, the “process of determining the proper scope of notification is further refined in an important way by having regard to the character and the registrant’s sexual offenses,” R.F., supra, at 386.

 

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld against ex post facto, bill of attainder, double jeopardy, equal protection and due process challenges the registration provisions of Megan’s Law, in Artway v. Attorney General, 81 F. 3d 1235 (3d Cir. 1996), also holding that the challenge to the notification law were not yet ripe for adjudication in that matter. In E.B. v. Verniero, 119 F. 3d 1077 (3d Cir. 1997), a challenge to the retroactive application of the community notification provisions of Megan’s Law brought by a certified class of convicted sex offenders who had committed enumerated sex offenses prior to the effective date of Megan’s law, the Third Circuit held that the community notification provisions of Megan’s Law do not constitute punishment for purposes of the Ex Post Facto and Double Jeopardy Clauses. The court also held that federal due process required modification to the procedures established by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Subsequently, in response to a petition by the Attorney General, the State Supreme Court modified its judicial review procedures to comply with the Third Circuit’s due process holding.

 

The challengers petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the Third Circuit decision upholding the constitutionality of community notification under Megan’s Law. In February 1998, the Supreme Court voted not to grant the petition for certiorari. E.B. v. Verniero, supra, cert. Denied sub nom., W.P. v. Verniero, 522 U.S. 1109 (1998). One case remained pending in federal court. A privacy challenge brought by a class of offenders who committed sex offenses after the effective date of Megan’s Law. The district court rejected their challenge, Paul P. v. Verniero, 982 F. Supp. 961 (D.N.J. 1997), and the Third Circuit affirmed the decision below, 170 F. 3d 396 (1999), but remanded the matter for further review of the adequacy of the safeguards against unauthorized disclosure of protected information. On remand, the district court initially held. The Attorney General Guidelines violated sex offender privacy rights. Paul P. v. Farmer, 92 F. Supp. 2d 410, 411 (D.N.J. 2000). The Attorney General revised the Guidelines and in response to a challenge seeking injunctive relief against proceeding with notification under the revised Guidelines, the district court vacated its earlier order, finding no infringement of registrants’ privacy rights under the safeguards established under the new Guideline procedures. Paul P. v. Farmer, 92 F.Supp.2d 410., 411 (D.N.J. 2000). The registrants appealed the court’s decision to the Third Circuit, which initially entered a stay against notification, which, it subsequently vacated. The Third Circuit ultimately held that the revised Guidelines do not violate registered sex offenders’ privacy rights, and permitted notification to go forward in accordance with the revised Guidelines. Paul P. v. Farmer, 227 F.3d 98 (3d Cir. 2000).

 

Following the approval by the voters of New Jersey of an amendment to the State Constitution that expressly authorizes the State Legislature to enact laws providing, among other things, for the establishment of a sex offender Internet registry, and the passage of legislation providing for the creation of such a registry, a class of sex offenders challenged, the constitutional amendment and the Internet registry, arguing that the registry imposes impermissible punishment in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution and violates their right to privacy and that the constitutional amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause. A.A.v. State of New Jersey, 176 F. Supp. 2d 275 (D.N.J. 2001). The case is currently pending in United States District Court, where the judge ruled on a motion seeking to enjoin the Internet registry that, pending a final decision, the State could go forward with the registry but that it could not include sex offender home address information. That decision is under appeal to the Third Circuit. The Sex offender Internet Registry web site is currently available on-line.

 

In the Matter of Registrant G.B., 147 N.J. 62 (1996), the Supreme Court of New Jersey considered the use of expert testimony in relation to a registrant’s Scale score. Generally, a court will place great weight on the tier determination resulting from a registrant’s Scale score, unless the registrant presents subjective criteria that would support a departure from reliance on that classification. In G.B., the Court held that, in addition to allowing evidence disputing the factual accuracy of the information used to calculate the registrant’s Scale score, a court may consider expert testimony concerning the registrant’s psychological state in assessing the accuracy of a registrant’s tier classification. The trial court has the ultimate authority to determine the admissibility, form and weight of such expert testimony. A registrant may use such evidence to argue that the Scale calculations do not properly reflect the registrant’s relative risk of re-offense and, in a case which falls outside the “heartland” of cases, the court may consider such testimony to override the Scale score. It should be noted that, in such cases, the court may use such psychological evidence to justify a departure from the Scale score to order either a higher or lower tier designation.

 

 

What Information is Disclosed to the Public

The information which upon proper judicial review upon proper notice to the individual which may be disclosed is:

  • Name
  • Recent photo
  • Physical description
  • Description of offense
  • Address of individuals place of employment
  • Address of individual school
  • Vehicle description and license plate

If the Megan’s Law file contains any materials rendered confidential by statute or court rule, for example, DYFS records, those documents should not be turned over to the offender until the Megan’s Law judge has reviewed them in camera. Following the in camera review, the judge will determine whether the materials should be turned over, in complete or redacted form, or withheld. The following is a non-exclusive list of records which may fall within this limitation.

Examples of Confidential Records

Autopsy and Medical N.J.A.C. 13:49-3.1 – may only be disclosed by

Examiner Reports County Prosecutor or Attorney General once a death

is referred for criminal investigation.

 

Child Abuse and Child N.J.S.A. 2A:82-46a – the name, address and

Sexual Assault Victims identity of a victim under the age of 18 shall not

appear on the indictment, complaint or any other

public record.

 

N.J.S.A. 2A:82-46b – it is a disorderly persons offense to disclose a report containing a child victim’s name, address or identity. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a – requires that all DYFS reports released to law enforcement be kept confidential. Criminal Investigation Executive Orders 123 and 69 – provide that these  records are not subject to public disclosure.

 

Domestic Violence N.J.S.A. 2C:25-33 – provides all records maintained pursuant to this act shall be confidential and shall not be made available to any individual or institution except as otherwise provided by law.

 

Electronic Surveillance N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-19 – provides that it is a third degree crime to knowingly use or disclose the existence of an intercept order or the contents of an intercept, except as authorized by statute or court

order.

 

Grand Jury Information N.J.S.A. 2B:21-10 – provides that any person who, with the intent to injure another, makes an  unauthorized disclosure of Grand Jury information commits a fourth degree crime.

 

Internal Affairs Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Policy and Investigations Procedures – provides that contents of internal investigation case files are confidential. (Law Enforcement Guidelines page 11-20)

 

Juvenile Delinquency N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60a – records pertaining to juveniles

charged as a delinquent shall be strictly safeguarded from public inspection.

 

N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60h – disclosure is a disorderly persons offense. Juvenile-Family Crisis N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60a – records pertaining to (Runaways, Truancy, etc.) juveniles found to be part of a juvenile-family crisis shall be strictly safeguarded from public inspection.

 

 

The Supreme Court of New Jersey found that although the RRAS scale is generally binding upon the court as to tiering, the registrant may present expert testimony concerning the psychological state in assessing the accuracy of the registrants tier classification.  The court may use this expert testimony to justify departure from the RRAS that the court calls “outside the heartland.”

 

Moving within New Jersey

 

When you move to a new address within New Jersey, you must notify the both the local police department where you live and the local police department where you will be moving.  See In re Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304, 333-334 (2001).  See also State ex rel. J.P.F., 368 N.J. Super. 24, 38 (App. Div.) certify. den. 180 N.J. 453 (2004).  Notification must be no less than 10 days before you can live at your new address.  In addition, if you change your job or school status you must also notify the local police department within five days after any such change. A person who fails to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of a change of address or status in accordance with this subsection is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  The maximum period of time if you are convicted of this offense is 18 months New Jersey State Prison.

 

Moving out of State or Into New Jersey

 

A person lives outside New Jersey and is required to register as a sex offender will need to register in New Jersey when you move to New Jersey.  In addition, you may also need to register if you are enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in this State, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, institution of higher education or other post-secondary school.  You will also need to register is you are employed this State, on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with or without compensation, for more than 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year.

 

If you are moving to New Jersey or returning to New Jersey from another State, you must register with the chief law enforcement officer of the town in which you will live.   If the town does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police within 10 days of first residing in or returning.

 

 

Conviction in another state or in federal court requires registration so long as the offense is similar to one of the listed offenses; and offense is similar it it “contains the same essential elements” and “the underlyging purposes of the crimes are consonant.”  In re R.B. 376 Super. 451., 461 (app. Div.) certify. den. 185 N.J.29 (2005)  The charge in R.B. was the federal crime os transporting minors across state lines for illegal sexual activity.

Megan’s for Juveniles

The requirements of Megan’s Law applies to juveniles.  In 2011, the court rejected a claim that a juvenile subject to these requirements has a constitutional right to a jury trial. Regarding juvenile’s adjudicated delinquent for sexual offense committed when they were under age fourteen, Megan’s Law Registration and community notification will terminate at age eighteen if the Law Division, after a hearing held on motion of the adjucated delinquent, determins on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that the delinquent is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.  The J.G. court “imported” that standard, but with a higher burden, from subsection f of this section.  Even though the t ermination hearing takes place afer the juveniles turns 18, the Juvenile Risk Assessment Scale rather than the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale seems to be the corrected standard.  In r T.T., 188 N.J. at 335-336… In State in the Interst of B.G., 289 N.J. Super. 361, 371-373 (App. Div. 1996) certify. den. 145 N.J. 374 (1996) helddd that registration requirements for juveniles does not terminate at eighteen is still good lw with regard to juveniles whose offense were committed when they were fourteen or older.  State ex. Rel. B.P.C. 421 Super. 329, 24 (App. Div. 2011); In re L.E., 366 N.J. Super. 61, 64 (App. Div. 2003).

The core principal of Megan’s Law is disclosure; however, it is not clear how the requirements of this statutory scheme would be applied to a juvenile successfully asserting exemption from the statutory disclosure requirements of N.J.S. 2A:4A-60f.  The New Jersey Supreme alluded to the problem but did not resolve it. One New Jersey Appellate panel concluded that the non-disclosure provisions of the juvenile code does not override Megan’s Law, reasoning that Megan’s Law was adopted with presumed knowledge of the Juvenile Code and that the more specific law must be prevail over the general one.  State ex. Rel. 368 N.J. Super. 24, 38 (App. Div.) certify. Den. 180 N.J. 453 (2004).

 

In June 2006, the Attorney General’s Office prepared a Juvenile Risk Assessment Scale (“JRAS”) and accompanying manual, to address concerns expressed by the Court in In the Matter of Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304 (2001). The Court found that “the Attorney General’s Guidelines and the RRAS, in their present form, do not adequately distinguish adult and juvenile offenders and specifically do not take into account the issues unique to juveniles below age 14.” Id. 333.  The JRAS is for juvenile offenders who are 18 years old or under at the time of the tiering process.

 

PAGE 9 of  http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/megan/jras-manual-scale-606.pdf goes here…

 

The juvenile code provides for non-disclosure of juvenile’s offense exception under certain conditions.  The New Jersey Supreme Court found that Megan’s law disclosure provisions overrode the Juvenile Code’s non-disclosure provisions. Nevertheless, the court noted some anomalies that motivated the trial court to find that registration was not required, and suggested that they could be resolved by legist ration.  In doing so, the Appellate Division declined to apply the balancing of competing statutory purposes applied to particular facts that the trial court adopted.

 

This list of the criteria in JRAS, along with an explanation of how each is used. “Low risk”, “moderate risk” and “high risk” examples are also provided by way of illustration set forth by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office. The JRAS is divided into three broad areas:

Sex offense history: Child pornography possession or distribution offenses do not count with regard to victim characteristics, unless the juvenile actually created child pornography with a real victim, or was present when child pornography was created and therefore charged. Although a juvenile can be scored as having an offense for an act involving either child pornography or a fictitious victim, such as corresponding electronically with a detective posing as a child, the additional points for victim characteristics would not be scored.

Antisocial behavior: The second broad area the State claims to be associated with increased risk is general antisocial personality and behavior. Studies have found juvenile sex offenders to be high in antisocial behavior, in particular those juvenile offenders whose offenses involve force against older victims.

Environmental characteristics: These can act as moderators of risk. A juvenile, who is in a stable, supportive environment, all else equal, can be     more effectively managed. Research has found that involvement in, and in particular successful completion of, sex offender specific treatment can also act as a risk moderator.

Degree of force is related to the seriousness of the potential harm to the community if re-offense occurs. Force requires the absence of affirmative and freely given permission (consent) and that which is necessary to perpetrate the assault or contact. Force in excess of what is needed to penetrate or otherwise commit the act is not required.

 

Low risk example: intra- or extra-familial child sexual abuse in which the offender obtains or attempts to obtain sexual gratification through use of candy, pets or other nonviolent methods; offender exposes self to child; offender fondles adult victim without use of force.

 

Moderate risk example: offender threatens physical harm or offender applies physical force that coerces but does no physical harm. For example, holding the victim down or using verbal coercion by threatening force against a victim’s relatives if the victim does not cooperate. If the victim is seriously cognitively impaired, such as mental retardation, the degree of force will be considered at least moderate, given the implicit coercion involved.

 

High risk example: offender causes lasting or substantial physical damage

to victim, or offender uses or is armed with a weapon. The offender must commit the violence on an actual victim. Possession of violent videos (computer generated or otherwise) does not count for scoring this criterion.

 

Degree of contact is related to the seriousness of the potential harm to the community if re-offense occurs.

 

Low risk example: fondles child victim over clothes; approaches adult victim on street and presses body against buttocks over clothing; exhibitionism or showing pornography to a child.

 

Moderate risk example: fondles under clothing.

 

High risk example: penetrates orifice with object, tongue, finger, or penis.

Again, the offender must commit this on an actual victim or cause an actual victim to commit these acts on him or herself (for example, through telephone or internet instruction).

 

Age of victim is related to seriousness of the potential offense. In the

present juvenile scale (as opposed to the adult scale), this criterion does not mirror statutory age levels because the juvenile himself/herself is younger than 18 years. The youngest victim for any offense known is scored. Offense need not have led to conviction if credible evidence exists in the records. For juveniles, at least a four year age difference between the offender and the victim is needed to score this criterion.

 

Victim selection is related to likelihood of re-offense (with interfamilial

offenders having the lowest base rate of re-offense) as well as risk to the community at large.

 

Low risk example: sexually abuses younger sibling, household member, biological child, stepchild, or common law spouse’s child; offender sexually abuses family member who does not live in the household.

 

Moderate risk example: “acquaintance” implies a degree of social/business interaction beyond that of a single contact and includes an offender who sexually abuses a neighbor’s child, a child for whom he or she is babysitting, or a child for whom he or she is coach or teacher; offender performs coercive sexual acts with date (“date rape”). If a relationship has developed by electronic means, such as the Internet, the victim shall be considered an acquaintance, rather than a stranger.

 

High risk example: sexually abuses child or adult stranger accosted on street, in park, or in schoolyard; offender lures stranger (either adult or child) into coercive sexual activity; offender meets victim for first time in school and assaults later that day. Use of the word “stranger” does not automatically preclude fact situations in which the victim knows the identity of the offender; for example, the offender and victim may have had an exchange of words in a school or other social setting.

 

Number of offenses/victims is related to the likelihood of re-offense. A conviction is not necessary if the rater finds credible evidence of multiple sexual offenses/victims. Multiple incidents with a given victim are addressed in criterion six, rather than in this criterion. Possession of child pornography may count as one offense, but each individual image does not count as a new victim. Victims portrayed in child pornography are not scored as victims for the purpose of the JRAS. They do not count as non-familial, stranger, nor male victims. Only real, live, human victims count. If the offender is a child pornography maker and a real live child was used to create pornography by the offender or the offender was present when pornography was created with a real live child, this child is a victim and should be scored as such.

 

Low risk example: interfamilial sexual abuse of one child (even if multiple incidents with the one child); sexual assault of one adult stranger.

 

Moderate risk example: two separate victims (even if only one incident with each victim or one incident involving both victims).

High risk example: three separate victims.

Duration of offensive behavior is related to both the likelihood of re-offense as well as the seriousness of the behavior itself. A conviction is not necessary if the rater finds credible evidence to support a specific duration of offensive behavior. This item has been changed from the adult scale, given the limited duration during which a juvenile can commit offenses before becoming an adult (and thereby being scored on the adult scale). Cases involving incest often have a longer duration for the offensive behavior, and the applicability of the incest exception should be considered.

Length of time since last offense (while at risk) is related to likelihood of re-offense. The time counted in this criterion is only time at risk–that is, when the offender is in a situation in which he or she has ready, unsupervised access to potential victims. Time incarcerated, hospitalized, or in residential treatment does not count, given that most offenders do not commit offenses under those circumstances. If, however, evidence exists (such as documented institutional disciplinary charge) that the offender did commit a sexual offense while incarcerated or institutionalized, then this offense should be included in the time calculation. For juveniles, time spent in residential placement without furloughs should be treated similarly to incarceration for adults. This criterion has been changed from the adult5

scale due to the limited time during which a juvenile can commit a new offense before being scored on the adult scale.

Low risk example: three or more years at risk since last offense.

Moderate risk example: between one and three years at risk since last offense.

High risk example: one year or less at risk since last offense.

Victim Gender is related to risk of re-offense. Statistically, those offenders with only female child victims reoffend at lower rates than those offenders with male child victims. The research literature shows that those offenders with male child victims tend to have higher numbers of victims as well. At highest risk are those offenders who indiscriminately offend against both male and female children. (Given that charged sex offenses against adult males are rare; this criterion assumes a child victim.) In order to appropriately address this concern, it is important to only count these criteria if there is a four year age difference between the victim and perpetrator.

 

Low risk example: female victim(s) only

 

Moderate risk example: male victim(s) only

 

High risk example: both female and male victim(s)

 

ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR

History of antisocial acts is related to a general propensity to offend, sexually and otherwise. The Criteria determines a range of delinquent behaviors, including but not limited to sexual offenses. Antisocial acts include crimes against persons, crimes against property, and status offenses (for juveniles). Acts that are not the subject of criminal charges but that are credibly represented in the available records may be counted. Sexual deviancy not the subject of criminal prosecution should be counted in Criterion 5 (rather than on Criterion 9) above to avoid “double-counting.” Criterion 9 should be reserved for non-sexual antisocial acts. Available documentation which can be considered may include evidence of truancy, behavioral problems in school or in a work situation, school suspensions, work suspensions, prior diagnoses of conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. Acts perpetrated while incarcerated or committed may be included. Some judgment is required in determining how to score the degrees of antisocial behavior, as is evident in the examples below.

 

Low risk example: no history of antisocial acts other than the charged sex

INTERNET REGISTRY

 

Information about certain sex offenders contained in the State Registry is public available by means of the Internet at the following site: www.njsp.org. The State Police are required under the law to maintain this Internet Registry of sex offenders.

 

The public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet Registry to view an individual registration record, any part of, or the entire Internet Registry. However, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:7-14(a), warnings are posted on the Internet site that state any person who uses the information contained in the Internet Registry to threaten, intimidate  or harass another, or who otherwise misuses that information may be criminally prosecuted. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:7-16(b), any person who uses information from the Internet Registry to commit a crime can be charge with a third degree crime.  Any person who uses information from the Internet Registry to comm

it a disorderly person’s offense or petty disorderly person’s offense shall be guilty of a disorderly person’s offense.

 

Personal information, including addresses, is posted on the Internet site. Circumstances may exist, such as the use or threatened use of information from the

Internet Registry to harm, threaten, intimidate, or harass a specific sex offender, which justify the removal of certain personal information on this Internet Registry is determined by the court-ordered level of notification, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:7-8c. Such inclusion may be affected by a subsequent re-evaluation of the level of notification.  All Tier Three (high risk) offenders are included on the Internet Registry, regardless of the age of the offender all Tier Two (moderate risk) offenders are included on the Internet Registry, unless the court has ordered notification as if the offender is a low risk to offend or the sole sex offense committed by the offender is one of the following:

No juveniles are on the internet.

A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 or N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 under circumstances in which the offender was related to the  victim by blood or affinity to the third degree or was a foster parent, guardian, or stood in loco parentis within the household; or

A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 or N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 in any case in which the victim assented to the commission of offense but by reason of age was not capable of giving lawful consent.

 

“Sole sex offense” means a single conviction, adjudication of guilty or acquittal by reason of insanity for a sex offense which involved no more than one victim, no more than one  occurrence or, in the case of an offense which meets the criteria of paragraph two above members of no more than a single household Notwithstanding the above, the prosecutor  may seek to have an offender who falls within one of these exceptions included on the Internet Registry by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the facts and circumstances of the individual case demonstrate that the offender poses a risk to the public that is substantially similar to the risk posed by a Tier Two offender who does not fall within one of these exceptions. No Tier One (low risk) offenders are included on the Internet Registry

 

Motion to Terminate Megan’s Law

 

Under N.J.S.A.2C:7-2, a person required to register Megan’s Law may make an application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate their obligation under Megan’s Law upon proof that the person has not committed an offense within 15 years following conviction or release from a correctional facility for any term of imprisonment imposed, whichever is later, and is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(f). In order to demonstrate that an individual is “not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others,” it is critical to provide the court will a report from an expert in the field to demonstrate that the individual meets these requirements.  Merely submit information that an individual is a low tier or tier one will not be compelling evidence sufficient to convince the court to remove an individual from Megan’s Law.

 

Juveniles may make a motion to terminate their requirements of Megan’s Law.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey set out to balance the principles of notification set forth under Megan’s Law with the goals of the Juveniles Justice Code. In the Matter of Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304 (2001).  The Supreme Court held that the registration requirement of a juvenile who committed a sexual offense when under the age of fourteen will terminate at age eighteen if, after a hearing held on the motion of the juvenile, the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the delinquent is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. Id. at 311. It recognized that children between seven and fourteen have a rebuttable presumption that they incapable of forming a criminal intent.  Youthful sex offenders may lack criminal capacity, or even comprehension about the nature and consequences of their actions.  Id.  The J.G. court “regarded as implausible and anomalous the notion that a child sex offender” such as J.G. should be subject to a lifetime registration requirement under Megan’s Law.  Id. at 330.

 

In an effort to harmonize the “protective inspection of the Code of Juvenile Justice with the requirements of Megan’s Law”, the Supreme Court held the registration requirement of a juvenile who committed a sexual offense when under the age of fourteen will terminate at age eighteen if, after a hearing held on the motion of the juvenile, the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the delinquent is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.  The Court in surveying other states across the country noted that a substantial number of state statutes either do not expressly include juveniles or have statutes significantly less severe than the New Jersey statute. Id. at 324-325.   In addition, the J.G. court noted that “(w)ere we writing on a clean slate, our inclination would be to exclude juveniles under age fourteen from the sweeping provisions of Megan’s Law.  In many instances, sexually improper behaviors by such young children is more reflection of inadequate adult supervision, immaturity, inappropriate media expose, or a prior history of emotional abuse than it is of irremediable sexually predatory inclinations”  Based upon this case law, the juvenile registrant can file a motion in Superior Court to remove the requirements of Megan’s Law.

 

When Megan’s Law was enacted, municipalities passed ordinances prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living within specified distances of schools and other designated facilities. Many people were left moving town to town and in some cases forced out of entire towns.  In 2008, New Jersey court found that law invalid. See G.H. v. Township of Galloway, 401 N.J. Super. 392 (App. Div. 2008), aff’d, 199 N.J. 135 (2009).

 

What if I Violate Megan’s Law

 

Some individuals subject to Megan’s Law must register for the remainder of their lives. If an individual fails to report a change of address, they can be charged with a crime called Failing to Report. If an individual does not provide the necessary information to the police department such as his or her name, fingerprints, social security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair color and eye color, address, date and place of employment, then they can be charged with the crime of Failing to Report, which is a fourth degree crime, subject to a maximum term of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.

 

If a registrant moves out of New Jersey or to New Jersey from another jurisdiction, the re-registration is required. Failure to do so may result in a charge of failing to register as well.

 

What if I Violate Of PSL/CSL

 

If you violate PSL or CSL, you can be charged with a second degree crime or fourth degree crimes.   More Often, individuals are being charged with a parole violation which will be heard by a hearing officer. In that situation, individuals will be placed in custody, and oftentimes will awaiting a hearing for a number of months.

 

Violation of condition of PSL – a Second Degree Offense

 

The second criminal charge of violation of CSL/CSL pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4(e),  provides that an actor is guilty of the offense of if he commits a violation of one of certain enumerated offenses while being subject to a special sentence of PSL:

 

(A) Murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3.

(B) Felony Murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3.

(C) Aggravated Manslaughter, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4.

(D) Manslaughter, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4.

(E) Death by Auto or Vessel, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.

(F) Aggravated Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b).

(G) Kidnapping, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1.

(H) Luring, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6.

(I) Sexual Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2.

(J) Criminal Sexual Contact, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3.

(K) Endangering the Welfare of a Child, in violation of N.J.S.A.

2C:24-4.

(L) Burglary, in violation of N.J.S.A 2C:18-2, when the offense is a

crime of the second degree.3

(M) Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, in violation of

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a).

 

A violation of this statute charges up to 10 years New Jersey State Prison.

 

Violation of condition of Parole Supervision for Life – fourth degree

 

The statute on which this charge is based provides that an actor is guilty of the offense of Violation of a Condition of Parole Supervision for Life if, without good cause, he knowingly violates a condition of a special sentence of Parole Supervision for Law which had been imposed upon him/her. A conviction carries up to 18 months in jail.

Megan’s Law Statute

The Megan’s Law sex offender registration and community notification provisions were signed into law on October 31, 1994 (chapters 128 and 133 of Public Laws of 1994). These provisions are set forth in New Jersey law at N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 through 2C:7-11. The law establishing the Megan’s Law sex offender Internet registry was signed on July 23, 2001 (chapter 167 of Public Laws of 2001). The provisions of the Internet registry law are set forth in New Jersey law at N.J.S.A. 2C:7-12 through 2C:7-19. The provisions of both laws are reproduced in their entirety below:

 

2C:7-1. Legislative findings and declaration

 

The Legislature finds and declares:

The danger of recidivism posed by sex offenders and offenders who commit other predatory acts against children, and the dangers posed by persons who prey on others as a result of mental illness, require a system of registration that will permit law enforcement officials to identify and alert the public when necessary for the public safety.

A system of registration of sex offenders and offenders who commit other predatory acts against children will provide law enforcement with additional information critical to preventing and promptly resolving incidents involving sexual abuse and missing persons.

 

2C:7-2. Registration of sex offenders; definitions

A person who has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a sex offense as defined in subsection b. of this section shall register as provided in subsections c. and d. of this section. A person who fails to register as required under this act shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

For the purposes of this act a sex offense shall include the following:

Aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1 or an attempt to commit any of these crimes if the court found that the offender’s conduct was characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior, regardless of the date of the commission of the offense or the date of conviction;

A conviction, adjudication of delinquency, or acquittal by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1; endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:24-4; endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4; luring or enticing pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 291 (C.2C:13-6); criminal sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-3b. if the victim is a minor; kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1, criminal restraint pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-2, or false imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-3 if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim; knowingly promoting prostitution of a child pursuant to paragraph (3) or paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses if the conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity is entered on or after the effective date of this act or the offender is serving a sentence of incarceration, probation, parole or other form of community supervision as a result of the offense or is confined following acquittal by reason of insanity or as a result of civil commitment on the effective date of this act;

A conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity for an offense similar to any offense enumerated in paragraph (2) or a sentence on the basis of criteria similar to the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection entered or imposed under the laws of the United States, this State or another state.

A person required to register under the provisions of this act shall do so on forms to be provided by the designated registering agency as follows:

A person who is required to register and who is under supervision in the community on probation, parole, furlough, work release, or a similar program, shall register at the time the person is placed under supervision or no later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, whichever is later, in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services, the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c. 284 (C.52:17B-170) or the Administrative Office of the Courts, whichever is responsible for supervision;

A person confined in a correctional or juvenile facility or involuntarily committed who is required to register shall register prior to release in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services or the Juvenile Justice Commission;

A person moving to or returning to this State from another jurisdiction shall register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the person will reside or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police within 120 days of the effective date of this act or 70 days of first residing in or returning to a municipality in this State, whichever is later;

A person required to register on the basis of a conviction prior to the effective date who is not confined or under supervision on the effective date of this act shall register within 120 days of the effective date of this act with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the person will reside or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police.

Upon a change of address, a person shall notify the law enforcement agency with which the person is registered and must re-register with the appropriate law enforcement agency no less than 10 days before he intends to first reside at his new address.

A person required to register under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section or under paragraph (3) of subsection b. due to a sentence imposed on the basis of criteria similar to the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection b. shall verify his address with the appropriate law enforcement agency every 90 days in a manner prescribed by the Attorney General. A person required to register under paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section or under paragraph (3) of subsection b. on the basis of a conviction for an offense similar to an offense enumerated in paragraph (2) of subsection b. shall verify his address annually in a manner prescribed by the Attorney General. One year after the effective date of this act, the Attorney General shall review, evaluate and, if warranted, modify pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c. 410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) the verification requirement.

Except as provided in subsection g. of this section, a person required to register under this act may make application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate the obligation upon proof that the person has not committed an offense within 15 years following conviction or release from a correctional facility for any term of imprisonment imposed, whichever is later, and is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.

A person required to register under this section who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for more than one sex offense as defined in subsection b. of this section or who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or sexual assault pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 is not eligible under subsection f. of this section to make application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate the registration obligation.

 

2C:7-3. Notice of obligation to register as sex offender

 

Notice of the obligation to register shall be provided as follows:

A court imposing a sentence, disposition or order of commitment following acquittal by reason of insanity shall notify the defendant of the obligation to register pursuant to section 2 of this act.

The Department of Corrections, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c. 284 (C. 52:17B-170) and the Department of Human Services shall (a) establish procedures for notifying persons under their supervision of the obligation to register pursuant to this act and (b) establish procedures for registration by persons with the appropriate law enforcement agency who are under supervision in the community on probation, parole, furlough, work release or similar program outside the facility, and registration with the appropriate law enforcement agency of persons who are released from the facility in which they are confined without supervision.

The Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Law and Public Safety shall provide notice of the obligation to register pursuant to this section in connection with each application for a license to operate a motor vehicle and each application for an identification card issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1980, c. 47 (C. 39:3-29.3).

The Attorney General shall cause notice of the obligation to register to be published in a manner reasonably calculated to reach the general public within 30 days of the effective date of this act.

 

2C:7-4. Registration forms; contents; transmission of form

Within 60 days of the effective date of this act, the Superintendent of State Police, with the approval of the Attorney General, shall prepare the form of registration statement as required in subsection b. of this section and shall provide such forms to each organized full-time municipal police department, the Department of Corrections, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Human Services. In addition, the Superintendent of State Police shall make such forms available to the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c. 284 (C. 52:17B-170).

The form of registration required by this act shall include:

 

(1) A statement in writing signed by the person required to register acknowledging that the person has been advised of the duty to register and reregister imposed by this act and including the person’s name, social security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, address of legal residence, address of any current temporary residence, date and place of employment;

(2) Date and place of each conviction, adjudication or acquittal by reason of insanity, indictment number, fingerprints, and a brief description of the crime or crimes for which registration is required; and

(3) Any other information that the Attorney General deems necessary to assess risk of future commission of a crime, including criminal and corrections records, nonprivileged personnel, treatment, and abuse registry records, and evidentiary genetic markers when available.

Within three days of receipt of a registration pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of this act, the registering agency shall forward the statement and any other required information to the prosecutor who shall, as soon as practicable, transmit the form of registration to the Superintendent of State Police, and, if the registrant will reside in a different county, to the prosecutor of the county in which the person will reside. The prosecutor of the county in which the person will reside shall transmit the form of registration to the law enforcement agency responsible for the municipality in which the person will reside and other appropriate law enforcement agencies. The superintendent shall promptly transmit the conviction data and fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Superintendent of State Police shall maintain a central registry of registrations provided pursuant to this act.

 

2C:7-5. Records; access; immunity

Records maintained pursuant to this act shall be open to any law enforcement agency in this State, the United States or any other state. Law enforcement agencies in this State shall be authorized to release relevant and necessary information regarding sex offenders to the public when the release of the information is necessary for public protection in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1994, c. 128 (C. 2C:7-6 et seq.).

An elected public official, public employee, or public agency is immune from civil liability for damages for any discretionary decision to release relevant and necessary information, unless it is shown that the official, employee, or agency acted with gross negligence or in bad faith. The immunity provided under this section applies to the release of relevant information to other employees or officials or to the general public.

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to impose any liability upon or to give rise to a cause of action against any public official, public employee, or public agency for failing to release information as authorized in subsection d. of this section.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent law enforcement officers from notifying members of the public exposed to danger of any persons that pose a danger under circumstances that are not enumerated in this act.

 

2C:7-6. Notification of community of intent of sex offender released from correctional facility or adjudicated delinquent to reside in municipality

 

Within 45 days after receiving notification pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1994, c. 135 (C. 30:4-123.53a) that an inmate convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense as defined in section 2 of P.L.1994 c. 133 (C. 2C:7-2) is to be released from incarceration and after receipt of registration as required therein, the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality where the inmate intends to reside shall provide notification in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of this act of that inmate’s release to the community. If the municipality does not have a policeforce, the Superintendent of State Police shall provide notification.

2C:7-7. Chief Law enforcement officer to provide notification to community

 

After receipt of notification and registration pursuant to P.L.1994, c. 133 (C. 2C:7-1 et seq.) that a person required to register pursuant to that act intends to change his address, the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality to which the person is relocating shall provide notification of that relocation to the community pursuant to section 3 of this act. If the municipality does not have a police force, the Superintendent of State Police shall provide notification.

 

2C:7-8. Notification guidelines; identification of factors relevant to risk of re-offense

After consultation with members of the advisory council established pursuant to section 6 of this act and within 60 days of the effective date, the Attorney General shall promulgate guidelines and procedures for the notification required pursuant to the provis ons of this act. The guidelines shall identify factors relevant to risk of re-offense and shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the degree of the risk of re- offense.

Factors relevant to risk of re-offense shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

Conditions of release that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to whether the offender is under supervision of probation or parole; receiving counseling, therapy or treatment; or residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision;

Physical conditions that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to advanced age or debilitating illness;

Criminal history factors indicative of high risk of re-offense, including:

Whether the offender’s conduct was found to be characterized by repetitive and compulsive behavior;

Whether the offender served the maximum term;

Whether the offender committed the sex offense against a child;

Other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk, including:

The relationship between the offender and the victim;

Whether the offense involved the use of a weapon, violence, or infliction of serious bodily injury;

The number, date and nature of prior offenses;

Whether psychological or psychiatric profiles indicate a risk of recidivism;

The offender’s response to treatment;

Recent behavior, including behavior while confined or while under supervision in the community as well as behavior in the community following service of sentence; and

Recent threats against persons or expressions of intent to commit additional crimes.

The regulations shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the risk of re-offense by the offender as follows:

If risk of re-offense is low, law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the person registered shall be notified;

If risk of re-offense is moderate, organizations in the community including schools, religious and youth organizations shall be notified in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines, in addition to the notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection;

If risk of re-offense is high, the public shall be notified through means in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines designed to reach members of the public likely to encounter the person registered, in addition to the notice required by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.

In order to promote uniform application of the notification guidelines required by this section, the Attorney General shall develop procedures for evaluation of the risk of re-offense and implementation of community notification. These procedures shall require, but not be limited to, the following:

The county prosecutor of the county where the person was convicted and the county prosecutor of the county where the registered person will reside, together with any law enforcement officials that either deems appropriate, shall assess the risk of re-offense by the registered person;

The county prosecutor of the county in which the registered person will reside, after consultation with local law enforcement officials, shall determine the means of providing notification.

The Attorney General’s guidelines shall provide for the manner in which records of notification provided pursuant to this act shall be maintained and disclosed.

 

2C:7-9. Immunity from civil and criminal liability for providing or failing to provide relevant information

 

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person who provides or fails to provide information relevant to the procedures set forth in this act shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action. Nothing herein shall be deemed to grant any such immunity to any person for his willful or wanton act of commission or omission.

 

2C:7-10. Notification concerning other dangerous circumstances unaffected

 

Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent law enforcement officers from providing community notification concerning any person who poses a danger under circumstances that are not provided for in this act.

 

2C:7-11. Notification advisory council established; qualifications of members

 

A notification advisory council is established to consult with and provide recommendations to the Attorney General concerning the guidelines to be promulgated pursuant to section 3 of this act. The council shall consist of 12 persons who, by experience or training, have a personal interest or professional expertise in law enforcement, crime prevention, victim advocacy, criminology, psychology, parole, public education or community relations. The members of the council shall be appointed in the following manner: four shall be appointed by the Governor, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party; four shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party; and four shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party. Any vacancies occurring in the membership shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

 

One year after the effective date of this act, the Attorney General and the council shall conduct a comprehensive review of the guidelines to determine whether any changes or revisions should be promulgated. Upon completion of that review and the submission of any recommendations thereon, the council shall expire.

 

2C:7-12. Legislative findings

 

The Legislature finds and declares that the public safety will be enhanced by making information about certain sex offenders contained in the sex offender central registry established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1994, c. 133 (C.2C:7-4) available to the public through the Internet. Knowledge of whether a person is a convicted sex offender at risk of re-offense could be a significant factor in protecting oneself and one’s family members, or those in care of a group or community organization, from recidivist acts by the offender. The technology afforded by the Internet would make this information readily accessible to parents and private entities, enabling them to undertake appropriate remedial precautions to prevent or avoid placing potential victims at risk. Public access to registry information is intended solely for the protection of the public, and is not intended to impose additional criminal punishment upon any convicted sex offender.

 

The Legislature further finds and declares that, in some instances, countervailing interests support a legislative determination to exclude from the Internet registry the registration information of certain sex offenders. For example, the interest in facilitating rehabilitation of juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent for the commission of one sex offense, but who do not present a relatively high risk of re-offense, justifies the decision to limit public access to information about such juveniles through the Internet. Other instances where the Legislature has determined that making sex offender registry information available to the general public through the Internet would not necessarily serve the public safety purposes of the law include moderate risk offenders whose sole sex offense involved incest or consensual sex. However, in such cases, the legislature deems it appropriate and consistent with the public safety purposes of the law to provide a process that permits inclusion of information about these individuals in the Internet registry where public access would be warranted, based on the relative risk posed by the particular offender.

 

2C:7-13. Information in central registry to be made available on the Internet

Pursuant to the provisions of this section, the Superintendent of State Police shall develop and maintain a system for making certain information in the central registry established pursuant to subsection d. of section 4 of P.L.1994, c. 133 (C.2C:7-4) publicly available by means of electronic Internet technology.

The public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet registry to view an individual registration record, any part of, or the entire Internet registry concerning all offenders whose risk of re-offense is high or for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 128 (C.2C:7-8), regardless of the age of the offender.

Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, the public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet registry to view an individual registration record, any part of, or the entire Internet registry concerning offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate and for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 128 (C.2C:7-8).

The individual registration record of an offender whose risk of re-offense has been determined to be moderate and for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 128 (C.2C:7-8) shall not be made available to the public on the Internet registry if the sole sex offense committed by the offender which renders him subject to the requirements of P.L.1994, c. 133 (C.2C:7-1 et seq.) is one of the following:

An adjudication of delinquency for any sex offense as defined in subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.1994, c. 133 (C.2C:7-2);

A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or N.J.S.2C:14-3 under circumstances in which the offender was related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree or was a foster parent, a guardian, or stood in loco parentis within the household; or

A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or N.J.S.2C:14-3 in any case in which the victim assented to the commission of the offense but by reason of age was not capable of giving lawful consent.

Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph d. of this subsection, the individual registration record of an offender to whom an exception enumerated in paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of subsection d. of this section applies shall be made available to the public on the Internet registry if the State establishes by clear and convincing evidence that, given the particular facts and circumstances of the offense and the characteristics and propensities of the offender, the risk to the general public posed by the offender is substantially similar to that posed by offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate and who do not qualify under the enumerated exceptions.

The individual registration records of offenders whose risk of re-offense is low or of offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate but for whom the court has not ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 128 (C.2C:7-8) shall not be available to the public on the Internet registry.

The information concerning a registered offender to be made publicly available on the Internet shall include: the offender’s name and any aliases the offender has used or under which the offender may be or may have been known; any sex offense as defined in subsection b. of section 2 of P.L. 1994, c. 133 (C.2C:7-2) for which the offender was convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity, as the case may be; the date and location of disposition; a brief description of any such offense, including the victim’s gender and indication of whether the victim was less than 18 years old or less than 13 years old; a general description of the offender’s modus operandi, if any; the determination of whether the risk of re-offense by the offender is moderate or high; the offender’s age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; a photograph of the offender and the date on which the photograph was entered into the registry; the make, model, color, year and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the offender; and the street address, zip code, municipality and county in which the offender resides.

 

2C:7-14. Duties of the Attorney General

The Attorney General shall:

Ensure that the Internet registry contains warnings that any person who uses the information contained therein to threaten, intimidate or harass another, or who otherwise misuses that information may be criminally prosecuted;

Ensure that the Internet registry contains an explanation of its limitations, including statements advising that a positive identification of an offender whose registration record has been made available may be confirmed only by fingerprints; that some information contained in the registry may be outdated or inaccurate; and that the Internet registry is not a comprehensive listing of every person who has ever committed a sex offense in New Jersey;

Strive to ensure the information contained in the Internet registry is accurate, and that the data therein is revised and updated as appropriate in a timely and efficient manner; and

Provide in the Internet registry information designed to inform and educate the public about sex offenders and the operation of Megan’s Law, as well as pertinent and appropriate information concerning crime prevention and personal safety, with appropriate links to relevant web sites operated by the State of New Jersey.

 

2C:7-15. Failure to investigate or disclose any information from the registry

 

No action shall be brought against any person for failure to investigate or disclose any information from the registry that is compiled or made available to the citizens of this State pursuant to P.L.2001, c. 167 (C.2C:7-12 et seq.).

 

2C:7-16. Use of disclosed information

Any information disclosed pursuant to this act may be used in any manner by any person or by any public, governmental or private entity, organization or official, or any agent thereof, for any lawful purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety.

Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to this act to commit a crime shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree. Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to this act to commit a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be fined not less than $500 or more than $1,000, in addition to any other penalty or fine imposed.

Except as authorized under any other provision of law, use of any of the information disclosed pursuant to this act for the purpose of applying for, obtaining, or denying any of the following, is prohibited:

Health insurance;

Insurance;

Loans;

Credit;

Education, scholarships, or fellowships;

Benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business establishment, unless for a purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety; or

Housing or accommodations.

Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of misuse of the information disclosed pursuant to this act, the Attorney General, or any county or municipal prosecutor having jurisdiction, or any person aggrieved by the misuse of that information is authorized to bring a civil action in the appropriate court requesting preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order against the person or group of persons responsible for the pattern or practice of misuse. The foregoing remedies shall be independent of and in addition to any other remedies or procedures that may be available under other provisions of law.

Evidence that a person obtained information about an offender from the Internet registry within one year prior to committing a criminal offense against that offender shall give rise to an inference that the person used information in violation of subsection b. of this section.

 

2C:7-17. Provisions are severable

 

The provisions of this act shall be deemed to be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, word or provision of this act is declared to be unconstitutional, invalid or inoperative in whole or in part, or the applicability thereof to any person is held invalid, by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this act shall not thereby be deemed to be unconstitutional, invalid or inoperative and, to the extent it is not declared unconstitutional, invalid or inoperative, shall be effectuated and enforced.

 

2C:7-18. Internet Registry Advisory Council

 

An Internet Registry Advisory Council is established to consult with and provide recommendations to the Attorney General concerning the making of sex offender registration records available to the public on the Internet. The council shall consist of nine persons who, by experience or training, have a personal interest or professional expertise in law enforcement, crime prevention, victim advocacy, criminology, psychology, parole, public education or community relations. The members of the council shall be appointed in the following manner: three shall be appointed by the Governor, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party; three shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party; and three shall be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, of whom no more than two shall be of the same political party. Any vacancies occurring in the membership shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments. The council shall hold at least two meetings per year to review the implementation and operations of the Internet registry.

[1]  Information was obtained from New Jersey case law, and New Jersey State Police and Attorney General Guidelines as follows:  http://www.nj.gov/njsp/spoff/megans_law.html, Attorney General Guidelines

for Law Enforcement for the Implementation of  Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws

JUNE 1998, http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/megan/meganguidelines-2-07.pdf, New Jersey Supreme Court Implementation of Megan’s Law, Administrative Office of the Courts Criminal Practice Division October 15, 2013 see ttps://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/criminal/megnrept.pdf,

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