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'Megan's Law' disclosure suspended under federal court order

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'Megan's Law' disclosure suspended under federal court order03/25/96 NEW JERSEY--A federal judge in Newark, N.J., in mid-March temporarily barred all…

‘Megan’s Law’ disclosure suspended under federal court order

03/25/96

NEW JERSEY–A federal judge in Newark, N.J., in mid-March temporarily barred all disclosure of sex-offender data under “Megan’s Law,” which was designed to compel notification to communities of the release of convicted sex offenders.

Federal District Judge John Bissell issued the injunction in response to a class action lawsuit filed by an unknown number of paroled sex offenders who are required to register their names with local police. Under the law, authorities are to classify the offenders as low, moderate or high risks and notify certain members of the community in which the offender will reside.

The ruling by the District Court does not halt registration or classification, but temporarily suspends community notification.

The injunction order was sealed in mid-March, and Judge Bissell refused to comment on his decision before the ruling was officially announced some days later. All records of the challenge filed in March were sealed at the request of the plaintiffs.

The New Jersey Supreme Court already has ruled that the law is constitutionally sound.

Megan’s Law is named after a 7-year-old New Jersey Girl, Megan Kanka, who was killed in 1994. A convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her has been charged with sexual assault and murder and is awaiting trial. (Case name under court seal)