Four North Carolina sex offenders hooked to satellite tracking systems had ankle bracelets and signal boxes removed after a judge ruled they shouldn’t be subject to lifetime monitoring, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. It was the latest rejection of the state’s attempts to track sex offenders who have finished their sentences. Across the state, 122 people are subject to tracking, and many are contesting it. Court decisions in North Carolina and other states may result in a more definitive ruling by a higher court. The four offenders who had the $1,400 units removed joined 21 sex offenders who have fought North Carolina and had judges side with them.
The state legislature required lifetime satellite monitoring for sex criminals classified as repeat offenders, aggravated offenders or violent predators, or who had victimized children. The correction department spends nearly $3,000 a year tracking a single offender. Defense attorneys argue that the sex offenders have served their punishments and shouldn’t be subject to the close monitoring. “The Constitution would prohibit punishments created after the fact,” said law Prof. John Rubin of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “That is the question that is going to be raised and addressed by the court.”