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NJ: Megans Law Details Still Not on Internet.


January 12, 2002

By John P. McAlpin

NJ: Megans Law Details Still Not on Internet

New Jersey had planned to debut its online registry of sex offenders, seven years after it passed Megan's Law, but court rulings have forced the state to keep details like an offender's address off the Internet.

State authorities are still working on the website, a spokesman for Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr. said yesterday.

"It's not up yet and we're looking to get it ready in a few weeks,'' said Roger Shatzkin.

Last month a federal judge rejected the state's plan to make most sex offender details available to anyone who could point and click.

The judge said existing laws already allow prosecutors to release street addresses to a sex offender's immediate neighbors.

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in November 2000, but the judge said the state can not make largely personal details like an address widely public.

Supporters said the constitutional amendment was designed to bolster state law and allow authorities to post offenders' addresses, physical descriptions and criminal histories. A law later passed by the Legislature outlines the posting system and provides some privacy safeguards for low-risk offenders.

The amendment was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the public defender's office, who said it allowed the state to broadcast what federal courts have said is confidential information.




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Source: 2002 Trentonian.com