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‘Pedophile-free zone’ laws may have to go

| August 6, 2008 at 02:22 pm

Laws that were passed locally that restrict where convicted sex offenders may live may soon be coming off the books.

In a case involving two southern New Jersey towns that attempted to restrict where convicted sex offenders may live, the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court recently struck down a municipality’s right to enact those type of regulations. The case involved the municipalities of Galloway Township and Cherry Hill.

The challenge to the municipal laws was brought by individuals who were impacted by the restrictions.The judges rejected those towns’ laws that prohibited convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, park, playground or day care center.

The three-judge panel found that New Jersey’s Megan’s Law was “pervasive and comprehensive” and should be the only law that dictates sex offender registration, notification, reintegration and rehabilitation. The Manalapan Township Committee is scheduled to open a discussion at its next meeting about whether Manalapan needs to rescind an ordinance adopted in 2005 that restricts where convicted sex offenders may live in the community and the amount of time they may “loiter” in one place. (more…)