Retroative Application of Megan’s Law Subsection (g)

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

On October 29, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme court decided the Middlesex County companion cases of In the Matter of Registrant G.H. and In the Matter of Registrant G.A. The defendants’ initials are used in cases like this in order to avoid the stigma associated with the underlying sex offense convictions that are being appealed. This is not to protect sex offenders, but to protect those who end up being wrongfully convicted of sex offenses.

The New Jersey Supreme Court issued this opinion per curiam. That means that no particular Justice attaches their name as the author of the opinion because the case involves a straightforward application of the law to the facts. Therefore, no particular Justice has a basis to apply their own analysis.

The Court addressed whether N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2’s lifetime prohibition against the termination of Megan’s Law notification requirements applies retroactively to offenders who were convicted prior to the enactment of sub-section (g) in 2002. The Court held in relevant part as follows.

The judgment of the Appellate Division in which the court concluded that subsection (g) of Megan’s Law does not apply retroactively, is affirmed. Registrants G.H. and G.A. both pleaded guilty to offenses that required them to register for life under Megan’s Law. At the time of their pleas, they would have been eligible to apply for relief from lifetime registration years later, under subsection (f), if they did not commit an offense within fifteen years of their convictions or their release from jail, and if a judge found they were “not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.”

On January 8, 2002, after the entry of both pleas, the Legislature enacted subsection (g). The new law went into effect immediately and barred registrants like G.H. and G.A., who had been convicted of more than one sex offense, of aggravated sexual assault, or of sexual assault, as defined, from applying to terminate their registration requirements under subsection (f).

Like the Appellate Division, we find no statement of legislative intent, express or implied, that subsection (g) should be applied retroactively. Nor do we find that subsection (g) was curative, or that the parties’ expectations warranted retroactive application. The judgment of the Appellate Division is therefore affirmed, and the matter is remanded