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November 23, 2007

What's to come in sex offender residency restriction litigation?

Though eclipsed by legal debates over guns, crack and executions, I think the Georgia Supreme Court's striking down of the state's sex offender residency restriction (basics here) is potentially the most significant recent story in the sentencing world.  How Appealing collects here some of the major media coverage of the ruling, which shows that others realize this is an important decision for the national legal landscape.

Literally hundreds of thousands of sex offenders are impacted by state and local residency restrictions, and this Georgia ruling seems likely to energize and enhance legal challenges to these laws in state and federal courts nationwide.  Moreover, major rulings like this are sure to increase the likelihood that the US Supreme Court will take up one of these legal challenges soon rather than later.

Because I am not a takings expert, I cannot effectively assess the legal reasoning in the Georgia Supreme Court's decision.  But the fact that a court was even willing to consider a novel type of challenge here suggests that judges are starting to appreciate not only how problematic these residency restrictions can be, but also that courts need to take the lead in limiting their reach and use.

November 23, 2007 at 02:49 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Doug, this is a very tricky area. I had a client who had to register as a sex offender and his address was at his mother's house. It wasn't long before the mother was being pressured by neighbors to move because property values were going down in the neighborhood. Tough issue. I suspect property values did go down but it wasn't due to anything the mother did. Bruce

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Nov 23, 2007 4:47:33 PM

And in related news, Quebec has decided NOT to follow the United States' lead in posting sex offender's names and addresses on the internet, citing concern over vigilantism: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/11/21/qc-sexoffenders1121.html. That should solve their potential problem on property values, as well. I guess not all politicians are ID#&Ts.

Posted by: jim | Nov 23, 2007 5:40:17 PM

Actually, the decision affects less than 10% of all registered sex offenders in the state of Georgia. It ONLY affects those who own their homes, and only those who owned their homes prior to a school, church, daycare center, or bus stop that locates SUBSEQUENT to the offender's residence. BUT, if the offender is renting or living with people without owning the property, that particular offenders still has to move. It also does NOT affect offenders WORKING near restricted areas. In fact, the judgment AFFIRMED the restriction for business area restrictions.

Please be very accurate when you review the actual decision.

Posted by: Michael Storac | Nov 23, 2007 10:36:02 PM

Michael, the court did not rule on renters as he was not a renter but was living rent free with his parents on his first appeal. A renter could still petition the court under the same grounds. It ain't cheap to move. He also did not prove that he would have financial loss if unable to work at his own business. Why not? Someone more prepared may be able to.

Posted by: George | Nov 23, 2007 11:27:36 PM

I NEED HELP!!!!! i was convicted in 2000 of unlawful sexual conduct w/ minor. I paid $10,000 for council because i thought he was the best and i was scared out of my mind. I didnt have anything on my record and not even a speeding ticket. the whole thing was because a girl was in a nightclub where you had to be 18 to get in and she wasnt.she used a fake id to get in,was 2 months pregnant also.there was no violence in my charge or anything like that and did 30 days in jail.I could go on about my lawyer not really telling me about how pleading this out was going to severely change my life,but i have another problem at hand.
When i was convicted no one said anything about this 1000 ft rule and now i have judgement against me to move within 30 days. Did the supreme court rule that if you were convicted before 2003 that this affects you also or are they allowing it to pertain also to people that were convicted before 2003 when it went into law in ohio? Laws keep popping up restricting people where they can live that eventually there will be no place for me and my family to live. I know this affects me,but i am more worried about my son because it will effect his future also,if we cant live in the suburbs where the better schools are and i dont have the money to send him to private school,so he will have to attend city public.The whole law is making move away from my family until we can sell the house which we own and on top of that i would have to pay 2 mortgages till the one sold. I'm just so mad that yes i paid for my mistake 8 years ago and never had a violation before that,during,or after my offense. i live 982 ft. from the schools run down tennis ct. which i dont even know if they use it,but it is another 363 ft and crossing a rd before you actually get on the academic part of the property and where their nice fields are also.the school is a high school and that 8 ft is really gonna make a difference and what they may use the tennis ct. for an 1hr a day for only a couple of months?? i know that there are people that are really sick but then there are people like me that got caught up by someone lying about their age and this witch hunt that is going on and we should all be labeled differently. i would be legal if my neighbors house was for sale and i moved into it!!!! now does that make sense. LIKE I SAID I JUST GOT A JUDGEMENT ON ME TO MOVE AND NEED ADVICE OR LEGAL HELP TO FILE AN APEAL OR SOMETHING,PLEASE!!!! IF I WAS A RENTER AND IT WAS JUST ME AND MY WIFE I WOULD PROBABLY JUST GIVE IN AND MOVE,BUT WE OWN OUR HOME, HAVE A KID AND HAVE FREINDS AND ROOTS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ADVICE OR HELP I AM DESPERATE.

Posted by: todd | Nov 27, 2007 2:06:02 AM

Sir.

I ple back in 1996 for one count of child molestation and i ask the law to take her to the Doc. and be checkout, he said the she had not been mass withat at all.this was the first time in my life of been but in this kind of spot.

I got out of prison in 10/3/96 after doing 3-in 7-out on probation for ten years i have register every move i made and up to date with that.All I am asking is for a new start in life I and my wife have been marred for 29years and helping take care of our grandkids. Jesus said that if you want forgive I want forgive you.if you call your self a child of God act like it.

Posted by: JR | Dec 15, 2007 5:06:32 PM

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