New Jersey may post the home addresses of sex offenders on a Web site, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The decision upholds New Jersey’s 18-month-old Megan’s Law online registry.
Rejecting a claim that the site violates sex offenders’ privacy rights, court overturned a lower-court ban on posting the streets, towns or ZIP codes of sex offenders’ residences. The lower court allowed listing offenders only by county.
Opponents of the online registry warned that it could drive registered sex offenders underground. An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said the registry will intensify offenders’ fears “of losing their employment, losing their homes and being subjected to vigilante actions,” causing stress and increasing the likelihood they will commit new offenses.
Appellate Judge Dolores Sloviter said that while citizens have some constitutional right to keep their home addresses private, in the case of sex offenders that right is outweighed by the state’s interest in preventing sex offenses.