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Hope for Juveniles Convicted of Sex Offense

Hope for Juveniles Convicted of Sex OffenseWhen someone is convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a sex offense in New Jersey, they will be required to comply with Megan’s Law. That means different things to different offenders.

  • After they are sentenced or released from custody, an assessment will be done by the County Prosecutor for the County of residence will score the individual using a Risk Assessment Scale.
  • At a minimum, they will be required to register their address with the police of the community they reside in and where they work.
  • If they score a sufficient number of points on the scale, Community Organizations in proximity to their residence and work will be notified and they will likely be placed on the Internet Registry for those that care to search can find them.
  • Those that score the highest number of points will have their neighbors notified within a specified distance from their home and work.
  • They will also be placed on the Internet Registry. In addition, many will be on parole supervision for life. This can have a devastating impact upon where they live or work.

Is It Possible To Be Removed from the Internet Registry?

Yes. For many, there is a possibility of having these requirements eliminated. The law permits most offenders to make application to terminate their registration/notification requirement as well as the parole supervision for life. In order to be eligible, the offender must prove they have not committed an offense within 15 years following conviction or release from a correctional facility, whichever is later, and establish they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. If they satisfy the criteria, they are free of the Megan’s Law burdens.

Who Can Never Be Removed from the Internet Registry?

For some, even if they meet the criteria, they can never be relieved of their Megan’s Law requirements. Those that have been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault where the offender uses force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury could never be removed from their Megan’s responsibilities and notification.

How Does the Law Differ for Juveniles in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently modified this rule in one respect. In re State ex rel. C.K., 233 N.J. 44 (2018), the court found this provision unconstitutional as to juveniles adjudicated delinquent of those two offenses.

The Court recognized the social science that the juvenile brain is not fully developed, and they lack maturity and have an undeveloped sense of responsibility, they are more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences and have less control over their own environment, their personality and character traits are more transitory, less fixed, and not as well formed as an adult.

As a result, juveniles are more capable of change and their actions are less likely to be evidence of irretrievably depraved character.

Contact Mark Catanzaro with Questions About Juveniles with Megan’s Law Obligations

While it is unlikely that the universe of offenders that fall into this category is large, this change in the law is extremely significant for those that do. All juveniles, irrespective of the crime, may now move to terminate their Megan’s Law obligations and parole supervision if they have been offense free for 15 years after the conviction or release from custody, whichever is later, and can establish they do not pose a risk to others. If you fall into this category and want to rid yourself of this Scarlet Letter, we can help. Please give us a call to see if you are eligible what we can do to shepherd you through the process.


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