greenhouse_2003 - THE SUPREME COURT: SEX OFFENDERS;...

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THE SUPREME COURT: SEX OFFENDERS;  Justices Reject Challenges to Megan's Laws  By LINDA GREENHOUSE Published: March 6, 2003 The Supreme Court rejected challenges to the Megan's Law sex  offender notification laws in Connecticut and Alaska in a pair of  decisions today that, while addressed only to aspects of the two laws,  made it likely that other challenges around the country would fail as  well.  The court ruled 6 to 3 that Alaska could apply its law, which includes  posting a registry of convicted sex offenders on the Internet, to those  who were convicted before the law took effect in 1994.  Applying the law to that group did not violate the Constitution's  prohibition against ex post facto legislation because the law was  punitive neither in intent nor in effect, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy  said. The ex post facto clause bars retroactive punishment. The Alaska  law created a ''civil, nonpunitive regime'' with the goal of protecting  the public, Justice Kennedy said.  All 50 states now have Megan's laws, which impose registration  requirements on tens of thousands of people -- 46,000 in California  alone -- whose original convictions imposed no such obligation. The  Alaska law is typical, and the court's ruling that it does not impose  punishment is highly likely to foreclose the argument now being  raised in a New Jersey case that the laws operate as a form of double  jeopardy. The Constitution's double jeopardy clause bars multiple  punishments for the same offense, so if there is no punishment, there 
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greenhouse_2003 - THE SUPREME COURT: SEX OFFENDERS;...

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