The Court continued: Subsection (g) has the perverse effect of keeping on the sex-offender registry those juveniles who have completed their rehabilitation, not reoffended, and who can prove after a fifteen-year look-back period that they are not likely to pose a societal threat. When, in the case of juveniles, the remedial purpose of Megan’s Law — rehabilitation of the offender and protection of the public — is satisfied, then the continued constraints on their lives and liberty pursuant to subjection (g), long after they have become adults, takes on a punitive aspect that cannot be justified by our Constitution. It is at that point that subsection (g), as applied to juveniles, no longer bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose and arbitrarily denies those individuals their right to liberty and enjoyment of happiness guaranteed by Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution.
It also bears emphasizing that holding that subsection (g) runs afoul of a fundamental right guaranteed under our State Constitution will not likely jeopardize any federal funding to this State. First, as mentioned earlier, subsection (g) is more severe and inflexible than the Tier III provisions of the federal SORNA. Second, a state is likely exempt from the federal SORNA’s dictates when implementing one of its provisions is violative of a state’s constitution, “as determined by a ruling of the jurisdiction’s highest court.” 34 U.S.C. § 20927(b).
C.K.’s case in many ways exemplifies why subsection (g) does not bear a reasonable relationship to a legitimate state purpose when applied to juvenile offenders. Twenty years have passed since C.K. committed his offense as a juvenile, and his adjudication occurred more than fourteen years ago. C.K. is now thirty-eight years old and has not committed an offense in twenty years and none since his juvenile delinquency adjudication. Over the years, he has complied with his Megan’s Law responsibilities. He has graduated from college and received a master’s degree in counseling, remained gainfully employed working for a nonprofit agency that provides services for adults suffering from mental illness, and has been a contributing member of his community. Multiple psychological evaluations attest that he is an extremely low risk to reoffend.
C.K. presents an excellent petitioner for the defense to use as a test case with this appeal. His achievements are atypical of most members of society, let alone adjudicated sex offenders.