New Case Permits Relief From Megan’s Law For Juvenile Offenders
Most people view “Megan’s Law” as an umbrella term, but it classically refers to two (2) restrictions: First, there is “Registration and Notification of Release of Certain Offenders,” which generally requires individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses to be classified and registered with the State. Depending upon their classification, they may be required to simply notify their local police department of their residence once a year, or in more serious cases the offender’s neighbors may be notified of their status. Second, most individuals convicted of sexual offenses who qualify for Megan’s Law will also be placed on Parole Supervision for Life. Parole is a form of intense monitoring by the Department of Corrections.
However, not all convictions require lifetime supervision, despite the legal characterization of Parole Supervision for “Life”. Some convictions permit an individual to seek relief from the Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life obligations after fifteen (15) years.
The law pertaining to juveniles placed on Megan’s Law differs somewhat from that of adult convictions. Some individuals convicted prior to the age of fourteen (14) can seek release at the age of eighteen (18). However, juveniles convicted of certain Aggravated Sexual Assault charges would be subject to Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life, without ever having an opportunity to be relieved of those obligations.
In a recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court, State in the Interest of C.K., the Court struck down this prohibition as violating the New Jersey State Constitution. The Court noted that “scientific and sociological studies have shined new light on adolescent brain development and on the recidivism rates of juvenile sex offenders compared to adult offenders.” In short: the Court recognized that “children are different from adults…” The Court particularly noted that “juvenile sex offenders are less likely to reoffend than adult sex offenders and that the likelihood of recidivism is particularly low for those who have not reoffended for a long period of time.”
As such, individuals who were convicted as a juvenile of a qualifying Megan’s Law offense can now seek relief from Megan’s law, regardless of the nature of the conviction, after fifteen (15) years.
If you have questions regarding relief from Megan’s Law or Parole Supervision for Life contact Rosenberg | Perry & Associates. Our criminal defense law firm employs three (3) former prosecutors experienced in litigating sexual offenses.