NY: RAA Applauds NYCLU & Plantiffs for Lawsuit Challenging Banishment Law

Source: restorativeactionalliance.org 5/29/24

Restorative Action Alliance (RAA) applauds the brave plaintiffs and legal professionals of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) who have recently brought a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of New York Executive Law § 259-c (14), known as “SARA.” This banishment law affects thousands of individuals with certain sex offense convictions preventing them from being in proximity to restaurants, stores, parking lots and other spaces that are within 1,000 feet of a school. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) also applies SARA to prohibit affected individuals from residing within 1,000 feet of the property line of a school. 

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York seeks to overturn the 25-year old law on 14th Amendment grounds; arguing that it is overly broad, vague, inconsistently applied and enforced, and “disastrous to rehabilitation and unhelpful for crime prevention”.

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I am uplifted by NYCLU filing this lawsuit. I’ve said this before, but think if all ACLU affiliates nationwide got behind this effort in every state, it would have a significant impact. A push from ACLU National HQ would get the national attention we need.

I hope the more open minds of the court will see the damage this really does but am afraid it will be subjective to what they feel is appropriate and probably not what the reality is…just as the recent PARSOL posting of the PASC case (via @Athena) was subjective of what the bench felt was and was not reached when considering the evidential bar of what was shown in the case. For some judges and justices, the bar will never be reached in their political minds on topics they sit for while it will for others.

Now if only they would challenge NY on the whole keeping people on their register that no longer live in the state or country.