A lawyer for New Jersey arguing Monday before the state Supreme Court called it vital to public safety that certain sex offenders register as such for life.

…Oral arguments Monday morning focused on two sex offenders, referred to only by their initials G.A. and G.H, who were convicted prior to 2002 seeking to have themselves taken off of the list. 

Last August, a federal judge ruled that the subsection was not intended to be retroactively applied, allowing G.A. and G.H. to apply to terminate their registration under Megan’s Law.

Justice Walter Timpone noted that G.A. and G.H. entered guilty pleas under the impression they may one day be removed. “They entered guilty pleas based on the knowledge that after 15 years they had the possibility of appearing before a judge and getting taken off any registration obligations,” Timpone said. 

Justice Barry Albin questioned the ethics behind forcing a person who does not commit another offense in 15 years to remain registered. “Here we have potentially people who after 15 years will pose no danger to the public, will be fully rehabilitated and yet will be subjected to this registration scheme,” Albin said. 

Justice Anne Patterson questioned the difference between imposing Megan’s Law onto those who committed sex offenses prior to the enactment of the law. “If it was not unfair to impose Megan’s Law on individuals who were convicted before Megan’s Law ever existed anywhere, then why is it fundamentally unfair in this situation,” Patterson asked. 

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