Wednesday, October 18, 2006
From nj.com: In a bid to prevent a 76-year-old sex offender and his mentally ill wife from being forced out of their home a week from today, the state Public Defender's Office filed a lawsuit yesterday contending municipalities have no power to establish "pedophile-free zones."
If successful, the lawsuit could invalidate dozens of local ordinances restricting where sex offenders may live. Alpha, Bloomfield, Cranford, Freehold, Middletown, Mount Olive, Phillipsburg, Pohatcong, Sayreville and Washington Borough are just a few of at least 46 municipalities that have adopted such restrictions.
The lawsuit contends municpalities are not allowed to impose their own restrictions on sex offenders because they are pre-empted by Megan's Law, the comprehensive state regulation of sex offenders. That law allows parole officers to dicate where a sex offender may live. It also argues the sex-offender ordinance adopted by Franklin Township in Gloucester County is so vague and sweeping that it is unconstitutional. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]