Young people between the ages of 14 and 18 who commit certain sex offenses are branded for life as sex-offenders. The ACLU-NJ, as a friend-of-the-court, challenged the constitutionality of the law—known as “Megan’s Law”—that mandates lifetime placement on the sex-offender registry for these young people. Sex offender registration impacts nearly every aspect of a young person’s life, including housing, education, employment and family and social relationships. Meanwhile, research has shown that juveniles who commit sex offenses pose a remarkably low risk of re-offending and that registration does not enhance public safety. The ACLU-NJ argued that mandatory lifetime registration constitutes cruel and unusual punishment as applied to juveniles. Furthermore, it is in conflict with the elevated privacy rights that attend cases in the juvenile courts. As a result, the law violates young peoples’ due process rights.
The New Jersey Supreme Court's decision is pending.