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. 

On April 24, 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court's held that the portion of Megan’s Law that denies juvenile defendants the opportunity to get off the registry was unconstitutional.


Criminal & Youth Justice Clinic at Rutgers Law School. Co-amici: Advocates for Children of New Jersey; Northeast Juvenile Defender Center. Direct counsel: Maynard & Sumner, LLC. Designated Counsel: Office of the Public Defender

Date filed

February 17, 2017


New Jersey Supreme Court