About 4,000 convicted New York State sex offenders should be dropped from the Megan’s Law list and left free to live wherever they want without their addresses being made available to the public, a federal judge ruled yesterday, says the New York Daily News. The decision deals a blow to efforts by Gov. George Pataki and the state legislature to extend how long offenders are required to remain on the state registry. Lawmakers who fought for tougher community notification laws were angry. “The judiciary has a long history of substituting its judgment for that of the Legislature who are elected by the public,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said it was unfair for the state to try to change Megan’s Law to keep Level some offenders on the list longer. “In the simplest terms, a contract is a contract,” Chin wrote. “The state cannot be permitted to unilaterally rewrite the contract and ignore a judgment of the court merely because the contract was with individuals convicted of serious crimes.” The decision affects Level 1 and Level 2 offenders, classified either as having a low risk or a moderate risk of committing a similar offense again. Level 3 offenders – the ones considered most likely to commit a similar offense – were not affected by the ruling; they already must register for the rest of their lives.