On October 31, 1994, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted the Registration and Community Notification Laws, also known as Megan’s Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 et seq. Megan’s Law requires sex offenders who have been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity of certain enumerated crimes to register with their local police department. It also provides for varying degrees of community notification about sex offenders depending on the risk of recidivism.
Megan’s Law applies to those offenders serving a sentence for an enumerated offense on or after October 31, 1994, or whose behavior was found to be repetitive and compulsive regardless of the sentence date for certain crimes.
The Prosecutor’s Office makes an initial tier designation but a Superior Court Judge’s determination is required for Tier Two and Tier Three findings.
Tier One — low risk — applies when the risk of recidivism is considered low, in relation to other sex offenders. All law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the offender are notified. Under the law, the Prosecutor’s Office cannot place tier one offenders on the internet registry.
Tier Two — moderate risk — applies when the risk of re-offending is moderate. Under Tier Two, in addition to law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the offender, schools, licensed daycare centers, community and women’s organizations in the judicially designated areas are considered for inclusion on the registrant’s final notification order. Some Tier Two offenders are placed on the official New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry which is accessible to the public.
Tier Three — high risk — applies when the risk of recidivism is high. All Tier Three offenders are included on the Internet Register. In addition to the law enforcement agencies, schools and relevant organizations included in Tier Two notification, door-to-door notification of all residents in a judicially designated area occurs.
It should be stressed that law enforcement will carefully investigate all allegations of criminal conduct taken by any person against the offender, the offender’s family, employer or school and will criminally prosecute where appropriate.