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High court upholds Megan's Laws. (Connecticut, Alaska Cases).

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court last month ruled to uphold Megan's Law statutes in two key decisions.

Those rulings mark the high court's first on Megan's Laws, which are designed to ensure public access to certain information about the backgrounds of convicted sex offenders. Versions of Megan's Law exist in all states and the District of Columbia.

In Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety vs. Doe, the court ruled unanimously in favor of the state's right to publish names, photos, and other details online about convicted sex offenders without letting offenders argue whether or not they are still dangerous. Connecticut's Web site included information about offenders convicted of murder, rape, indecent exposure, and consensual sex with underage partners. A district court judge ruled 2 years earlier that Connecticut's online registry was unconstitutional because it failed to discriminate between offenders who posed a risk and those who did not. The registry was taken off-line during legal challenges.

In the Alaska case, Smith vs. Doe, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of upholding a retroactive law requiring registration of convicted sex offenders. The two men who challenged the law--who had served time for sex offenses and had been released--said the law's retroactive application was illegal. But the justices ruled the law was not excessive. Alaska's law requires convicted sex offenders to register quarterly to provide information about their lives, including residence, job, and physical description, for 15 years after prison release.
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Author:Splete, Heidi
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U1CT
Date:Apr 15, 2003
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