The Georgia Supreme Court today overturned a state law that banned registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, and other areas where children congregate, reports the Associated Press. “It is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected,” said the unanimous opinion.
The 2006 law had been challenged by civil rights groups, which argued it would render vast residential areas off-limits to Georgia’s 11,000 registered sex offenders and could backfire by encouraging offenders to stop reporting their whereabouts to authorities. The court said that even sex offenders who comply with the law “face the possibility of being repeatedly uprooted and forced to abandon homes.” It said the offender would be in violation whenever someone opts to open a school, church, or other facility serving children near the offender’s home. While the case involved a day care center, “next time it could be a playground, a school bus stop, a skating rink or a church,” the court said.