Sex Crime Law in New Jersey

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Must A Sex Offender Register in New Jersey?

On a warm July evening in 1994, Megan Kanka was lured into a New Jersey home across the street from where she lived by a twice-convicted sex offender of 5 and 7-year-old girls.  She was raped, brutally strangled with a bag over her head, and assaulted again.  The sex offender, who had offered to show her a puppy, lived with 2 other convicted sex offenders.  However, the local police department was prohibited by New Jersey law from informing the neighbors about sex offenders in their area. 

Registration of New Jersey Sex Offenders

This heinous act resulted in the original New Jersey Megan’s Law, which was enacted on a Federal level in the same year.   Megan’s Law calls for a mandatory state registry, and for public access to the list.  The law is retroactive in that it requires for sex offenders previously convicted of violent crimes to register. 

Out-of-state and out-of-country sex offenders are required to register with the New Jersey authorities within 70 days of entering the state.  Registration is for life, unless the offender applies to the Superior Court for de-registration 15 years after release or at the end of their probation.  In making the determination, the judge will look at all factors, such as seriousness of crime, activity since conviction, and other evidence of rehabilitation. 

Almost all New Jersey sex criminals are required to register, such as those convicted of: luring a child into a motor vehicle, sexual assault, rape, possession of obscene materials, incest, and indecent contact with child.  New Jersey repealed unlawful sodomy as a crime in 1979. 

Expunction of New Jersey Criminal Records

Expunction in New Jersey is when a criminal record is collected and isolated, such that it will never be able to be accessed by a private company or citizen.  Sometimes records are destroyed.  In New Jersey, “indictable crimes” (felony) and “disorderly persons offenses” (misdemeanor), can be expunged.  However, sex offender registry crimes cannot be expunged in New Jersey, even after de-registration. 

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Last Modified: 12-23-2013 09:52 AM PST

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