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National: Top court to rule on molester lists.

May 21, 2002

Issue is fairness of registry without weighing each case

WASHINGTON - (AP) -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether to force states to evaluate cases individually before listing sex offenders on registries meant to help people keep tabs on those living or working nearby.

The court's ruling on "Megan's laws" in more than 20 states, including Florida, could mean separate hearings to determine the risk posed by a sex criminal who has completed a prison sentence.

Each state has some form of sex offender registry named for the New Jersey child kidnapped, raped and killed in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who had moved in across the street. Her parents knew nothing of his history.

The Bush administration sided with Connecticut in asking the Supreme Court to restore or preserve public access to data about offenders.

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Source: 2002 The Miami Herald