ACSOL’s Conference Calls

Conference Call Recordings Online
Dial-in number: 1-712-770-8055, Conference Code: 983459

Monthly Meetings [details]
10/20 – Los Angeles, 11/17- Phone, 12/08 – San Diego

Emotional Support Group: (Los Angeles): 10/27, 11/24, 12/22 [details]

Registration Laws for all 50 States

National

NJ: Court Stops Retroactive Application of Lifetime Registration Law

An appellate court in New Jersey has ruled that the state government cannot retroactively apply a new law that requires life-time registration to registrants who had the possibility of relief from that registration at the time they pled guity. According to the Court, the restroactive application of the new law would be “manifestly unfair” to registrants.

“Although the New Jersey court based its decision on the intent of the state legislature and not on the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution, it reached the right decision when it protected registrants from the application of laws passed many years after their conviction,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.

The registrants in the case met the requirement for relief from lifetime registration under the prior law because they were offense free for at least 15 years. In addition, trial courts had found that both registrants “no longer pose a threat to the safety of others.”

In its decision, the Court acknowledged that the requirement to register for life places registrants in danger, including both potential criminal liability (for failure to register) and public opprobrium (shame or scorn). This in turn, “eliminates an incentive integral to Megan’s Law remedial purpose.”

The Court also noted that two state courts — Maine and New Hampshire — have determined that the retroactive application of a lifetime registration requirement violated their state constitutions. The decision includes a discussion of SORNA registration requirements and how New Jersey laws fail to comply with that federal law and therefore is not eligible for federal funding related to those requirements.

Ex Post Facto – New Jersey – Aug 2018

Join the discussion

  1. Richard

    another small bite, of a large crap pie. Seems the momentum is east coast, some stronger beliefs, in the State and Federal Constitution . I am, in Mo. And Missouri, amended the state Constitution, in 2016 by vote that Constitutional prohibition against enacting a law retrospective in its operation applies only to laws affecting civil rights and remedies and does not apply to criminal statutes. State v. Honeycutt, 421 S.W.3d 410 (Mo.banc). http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/Consthtml/A010131.html So our fight on this would have to be in Federal court, I am not, educated in laws. It just seems to me that a lot, of time has been spent arguing the Constitutional aspects of the S.O.R with slow progress. There must be a way to combine all states to a federal challenge instead of 1 state at a time with 1 challenge. The Courts are fed up with trying to cover up what is obvious repeated punishments within the S.O.R, well just my thoughts!

  2. AO

    In its decision, the Court acknowledged that the requirement to register for life places registrants in danger, including both potential criminal liability (for failure to register) and public opprobrium (shame or scorn). This in turn, “eliminates an incentive integral to Megan’s Law remedial purpose.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————–

    If the court acknowledges these things, why is the registration allowed to continue past supervision at all? Is it somehow okay to place people in “danger” who were convicted 1 day after these new laws were enacted, or even for those convicted decades ago and placed on lifetime registration? The legal system is incredibly confusing in its rational.

    • mike r

      Exactly, retroactive or not, it’s unconstitutional by being a state sponsored hit list, its excessive, arbitrary, based on false premises, and there is as near consensus as you can get when it comes to the efficacy issues.

  3. Tim L

    I refused to plea in 1992 and demanded trial.
    So WI added me to their list anyway.
    They did so without my knowledge nor opportunity to contest the civil.

    Shameful.

  4. Anonymous

    The court keeps using the word “Relief.” Relief from what? The restrictions that the registry imposes? Or do they mean the punishment of it? Or the burden or the vigilantism danger?

  5. Timothy D.A. lawver

    Early challenges to SORNA focused their efforts on EFFECTS when the appropriate tact is to question INTENT when no factual record exists.

    Janice
    Please focus on INTENT on IML challenges.

    Tax payer money used to protect foreign nations on their soil not U.S. soil.
    The notion runs antithetical to why government is formed therefore no justifiable constitutional position of duty exists.

    Just saying
    Best of luck.
    Tim

  6. Steveo

    Wow, every time we turn around there is some sort of favorable ruling somewhere. I live in Texas, so I sort of doubt that the supreme court here will ever say that Ex Post Facto implementation of what has been done to us is wrong, or that registration is punitive, or anything like that. Of course a conservative and honest look at those things would bring a person to those conclusions, but as someone who leans to the right myself, I can tell you that conservatives are often not really conservative in their interpretations or honest about things that are inconvenient to what they want to have happen. I think our best hope is some sort of federal judgement in our favor. 3 or 4 states headed in the right direction really bodes well for that.

  7. Hysteria

    As more of these decisions are filed, they can be used as examples to other courts in arguements over relieving persons to register and easing restrictions.
    As funds become tighter, states will be looking for subtle ways to save money without completely eliminating the registry.
    Here in San Jose, Ca. The compliance checks are hindered by the fact that they only have 1 or 2 officers doing them. The city can’t afford the overtime and officers are leaving the force.
    It all comes down to money, as governmental issues always do. As the national debt increases and there are fewer federal funds to assist states, municipalities will be strapped to enforce ordinances and laws that they see as a drain on resources.
    We need to hope the U.S. goes bankrupt!

  8. Henry

    What about those who did not have a requirement to register at all. There was a time when there a person was just convicted of a sex offense and there was no 10, 20 or life time registration requirements. What’s going to happen with those people in NJ?

  9. cool CA

    California should be next.

  10. PK

    I’m thinking NY should be next. NJ and Massachusetts are right next door.

    I’m guessing that both of these decisions are at the State Level and not Federal Level through the Circuits?

    • Nicholas Maietta

      Florida and New York would be the very last of the states to make any changes for the betterment of registered citizens.

  11. R M

    I was convicted in NJ in 2000 and subjected to CSL (community supervision for life). CSL is not parole per se but is “as if on parole” which is exactly like being on parole. I got out of prison in 2002. As a level 1 risk, I can petition the court after 15 yrs provided I commit no “crimes”. Unfortunately, I committed a violation of “special conditions” imposed on me by the court at the time of my sentencing (having ADULT nude pictures on my computer). I could have been sent to prison for up to 30 yrs but got 1 yr probation. Also unfortunately, the offense in 2008 “reset” my 15 yr of no crime clock, so that added 6 yrs to my CSL.

    The conditions of CSL and the subsequent PSL (parole supervision of life) are there only to make one fail and provide “safety” to NO ONE.

    I’m glad the new law isn’t retroactive, but still… I am on “parole” now an additional 6 yrs until 2023, because I admire adult nudity. Which, btw, isn’t against the law for people without a sex offense in their past.

    • JoshB

      Holy shazinsky! I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to deal with any kind of Sex Offender Parole Supervision- they would have to find my ass!

  12. j

    This is important is regards to CA revoking the right to seek a COA. At the time many of us were sentenced, that right was available. Somewhere along the way, probably influenced by AG and whatever hysteria fad was at the time, the state removed registrants’ rights to apply for a COA. Clearly ex post facto punishment and flying in the face of empirical science.

    This should be challenged here in the basis that the right was removed or changed retroactively. Good luck.

  13. 290 air

    So why can’t CA do the same thing. I took a pleas bargain with the understanding there was a path for me to be relieved from having to register after 10 years. I even have it in writing, but when they updated the law 2 years later it turned to lifetime requirement. Where’s my benefit of the bargain? I held to my end of the deal being offenses free now for 21 years. Why can a government not uphold their end of a deal without punishment when every citizen gets punished if they don’t. Should governments be held to higher standards than individual citizens?

  14. AnotherAnon

    Same happened to me during sentencing. The CA court said I could be removed from the registry after completing probation successfully. They changed the law before my probation was done. That was the early 80’s. The gov’ment cannot be trusted.

    • Major Henderson

      I don’t understand this post. How could you be promised you’d be taken off the registry in the early ’80s? Registration did not even start until sometime in the ’90s.
      In fact, that is my arguement that I was treated unfairly. I took a plea bargain in 1990 that never mentioned anything about being placed on a registry at all. Yet here I am for life.

      • CR

        CA was first, I believe. Their sex offender registry started in 1947. My understanding is that it was primarily used against gay men. Not sure about that, but I’m sure someone with a better understanding of CA registry history will chime in.

  15. steveo

    290 air,

    You just described almost exactly what happened to me. You make this deal based on everything going away at the end of 10 years, and then they change the deal on you after the fact. That is the very definition of injustice. It happened to us, because they considered us not worthy of being dealt with justly. They removed lady justice’s blindfold, and saw a sex offender, who is lucky in thier eyes that you didn’t go to jail for the rest of your life. So we’re supposed to be humble little creatures and scurry off to some little corner and take our lifetime registration like we deserve. They knew it was punitive from the start, and used the most damning evidence they could find to say that it was justified because we were highly likely to reoffend. I have a long story about the way me and my family were mistreated while I was on probation for those 10 years. They ripped me out of my home, at great expense to our family, and i had to live outside of my home twice, because a PO got mad at me for taking a snippy tone with her once at my front door. She also punished me by ripping me out of my counseling group where I had been for years, just before I had finished, and she made me start all over again with another counselor that they liked better.

    I keep working at forgiving these people who have done me wrong, because it’s not good for me to carry that around with me, and also, the bible says that vengeance belongs to the Lord, so I don’t beleive that these people ultimately got away with anything.

  16. Edie

    Janice, what can we do and who must we gather to bring the case of unconstitutionality of GPS monitoring to the California courts? We are a powerful state, with powerful stories, high tech resources, and very persuasive people. The restrictions the damn anklet poses on parolees is an unjust extension of their incarceration. Now, it’s E-carceration. The campaign to eliminate this draconian process needs to start now!

    • Edie

      oops….meant to post this in the NC story about GPS monitoring being unconstitutional.

  17. Dustin

    I find it a bit ironic that the New Jersey Supreme Court reached this decision using substantially the same arguments against the public registry when it was being debated in the legislature. Really, I’m guessing (haven’t read the opinion) the only thing missing was the court pointing out that Megan Kanka would not likely be alive today had it been in effect back then.

Leave a Reply

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...  
  • Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  • Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  • Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  • We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  • Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  • Please do not post in all Caps.
  • If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links.
  • We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  • We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  • Please choose a user name that does not contain links to other web sites
  • Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  
 

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer this question to prove that you are not a robot *