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NJ Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Lifetime Registration for Juvenile Sex Offenders

On Tuesday, April, 24, 2018 the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down a provision of Megan’s Law that required certain juvenile sex offenders to register for life. The case, State in the Interest of C.K., involved a juvenile adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense committed when he was a teenager. The High Court noted that twenty years had passed since C.K. committed his offense and that multiple psychological evaluations had found he posed “an extremely low risk to reoffend.” The Court held that requiring individuals, like C.K., to register for life under Megan’s Law, violated the New Jersey State Constitution.

These PDF documents give more details:

CK Decision – NJ Supreme Court 4-24-2018

CK NJ Sup Ct Press release 4-24-2018

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“…the continued constraints on their lives. and liberty pursuant to subsection (g), …takes on a PUNITIVE aspect that cannot be justified by our constitution.”

There it is. Irrefutably printed in a court ruling in the United States of America, admission that the registry has a tendency to be punishment.

Excuse me, your honors, but could you please explain to me if it is wrong for a juvenile to be on the list because it violates NJ’s State Constitution, then why is it not equally wrong for any individual to be on the list?

There are a number of elements to this case that make me wonder if it could be used (at least in NJ) to strike at ML in general. For one, to my understanding, punishment is punishment regardless of one’s age. The only place juveniles get lighter treatment is in the amount or length of punishment, where some is considered cruel and unusual (C&U) if applied to them. With that in mind, I have a hard time seeing how it can be punitive when applied to a juvenile versus an adult. I *can* see if they had said it’s punitive in general and cruel and unusual when applied to a juvenile. It’s being punitive is a yes/no proposition, I would think. It’s only after being found punitive that further analysis of it being C&U as applied to juveniles would kick in.

This case, in the hands of a sharp attorney, may be of use.

That is sound reasoning my friend. They are confusing type of punishment with punishment in general. I can see, but don’t agree with their view, that the affect of the registry on juveniles is different, from a semantically correct standpoint, than the affect on adults. Juveniles can’t consent (now that is a as applied concept) to doing wrong. Adults on the other hand are supposed to have a developed free will (forget affects of biology please) and know that they are doing wrong. If one couldn’t consent, then punishing someone for the rest of their life for being unable to know what right and wrong is. is cruel. I doubt it is unusual, though. Practiced all the time. To punish someone for the rest of their life as an adult for doing something they know is wrong is more easy on the conscience, I guess.
To me this all seems to be divorced from any consideration of what people actually suffer and how much good all this does to relieve that suffering or preventing more suffering. It is an argument of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin or rather how many offenders can be stuffed in a jail cell.

You are sharp AJ, how can they claim it is punishment for juv. and not adults , who by the way, regardless of what the courts or anyone states, are less likely to re-offend than juv. It is only common sense, juv. have less impulse control and in many cases have the rebellious attitudes. So although they also have extremely low rates (almost exactly the same as adults however) it only goes to common sense that they will re-offend higher than adults. Statistically anyways….

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x