Many people who are subject to Megan’s Law and Community Supervision for Life (CSL) or Parole Supervision for Life (PSL) regularly contact our firm to ask about relief from the requirements and obligations of these overly burdensome laws. We file motions in all 21 New Jersey counties for clients seeking to have their registration and supervision obligations terminated, and our success record speaks for itself.
As we have discussed in other blog posts, the requirements for relief from these obligations are, generally speaking, fairly straight forward. As to Megan’s, the registrant cannot have a conviction for more than one sex offense, and cannot have a conviction for aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault involving certain types of forceful activity. As to both Megan’s and CSL/PSL, the parolee must be able to show that they have had no encounters with the criminal justice system for 15 years from the later of: (a) the date they were sentenced in their original sex offense case, or (b) the date they were released from any prison sentence imposed as a result of that case. They must also show that they are not a danger to the community.
The 15-year requirement is the most frequent stumbling block to relief. Unfortunately, many people who contact us concerning termination have had some sort of encounter with the criminal justice system while they were subject to Megan’s and PSL/CSL. This can be, but is not necessarily, a bar to termination of registration and supervision obligations. As to this issue, there is a crucial distinction between Megan’s Law and CSL/PSL which people need to understand.
As to Megan’s Law, if the registrant committed a new offense while they are required to register, they are permanently barred from being relieved of their registration obligation. Under current law, it’s “one and done”. However, because the CSL/PSL statute is worded differently, if the parolee is convicted of a new offense while on parole, they can seek relief from lifetime supervision 15 years after they are sentenced or released from custody on the new charge, whichever is later. Thus, in the Megan’s Law context, the 15-year clock does not start to run again from the date of sentencing or release from custody that results from the new offense. However, in the PSL/CSL context, the 15-year clock will start to run again from the later of the sentencing date or release from custody, and the parolee can seek relief from supervision requirements after that period.
The distinction is crucial because of the nature and extent of the registration requirement, as opposed to the burdens associated with parole supervision. For most registrants, registration means an annual trip to the local police station to complete a form. While there is a record of the person being a convicted sex offender, the registration burden is not that great. Supervision, however, involves reporting to parole, drug testing, cell phone/computer monitoring (assuming the parolee is allowed to use a cell phone or computer), restrictions on where the parolee can live or work, and with whom they can associate (a parolee may be barred from attending their own child’s birthday party because of possible contact with children).
People who have incurred new charges wile they are subject to registration or supervision may still be able to terminate the more burdensome supervision requirement if they have had 15 “clean” years from the sentencing date or release from custody stemming from the later case. Clearly, this is a plus since they will no longer be supervised by parole.
James S. Friedman, Esq., is a Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life attorney based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Friedman files motions to terminate these requirements in all 21 New Jersey counties. If you are subject to Megan’s Law or CSL/PSL and want to learn about terminating your obligations, contact Mr. Friedman to discuss your options.