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Warren County suspends sex offender residence ban

2013-02-28T20:00:00Z 2013-03-01T12:50:23Z Warren County suspends sex offender residence banJON ALEXANDER - jalexander@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
February 28, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

QUEENSBURY -- Warren County has suspended enforcement of its law that bans registered sex offenders from living close to schools, playgrounds and parks in the face of a lawsuit charging the law is unconstitutional, according to the lawyer for the plaintiff.

The county’s 2006 law limits where any sex criminal convicted of illicit acts against children can live and work.

Albany-based lawyer Kathy Manley, who represents an unnamed level two sex offender, said Warren County’s law banning convicted sex criminals from living or working within 1,000 feet of schools and parks, even after they’ve completed parole, unlawfully supersedes state jurisdiction.

“It doesn’t make sense to essentially banish people from areas where they could potentially get treatment or find employment,” she said.

State law places limitations on where offenders can live and work only until they have completed parole.

The offender Manley represents — listed as “John Doe” in the lawsuit filed Feb. 6 — wants to move in with his mother in Queensbury, according to court documents filed at Warren County state Supreme Court.

He was convicted in 2010 in Washington County of sexual acts with a minor who was under 16, and he served two years in prison, the lawsuit states. Manley said her client has completed parole, but is still barred from moving in with his mother under county law.

County Attorney Martin Auffredou has agreed to suspend enforcement of the county law until the constitutional challenge is settled.

“What we’re going to do is not enforce this for the time being until I talk to the Board of Supervisors about it,” Auffredou said.

John Doe is expected to move in to his mother’s residence soon, Manley said.

Warren County Board Chairman Kevin Geraghty and Sheriff Bud York both acknowledged talking this week with Auffredou about the matter. York declined comment when asked about the policy change.

Geraghty said no one has spoken yet about repealing the local law, and he referred any additional comment to Auffredou.

Washington County officials couldn’t provide John Doe’s identity with the information provided in the lawsuit.

“We’re giving ourselves time to look at the law and how comparable laws have fared in other counties,” Auffredou said. “In my view, there is sufficient state law in place as a safeguard.”

Manley said she wasn’t sure which school playground or public park John Doe’s mother lives near.

Counties across the state — including Washington County — passed similar sex offender statutes in recent years, only to have them ruled unconstitutional in the courts.

Essex and Franklin county lawmakers recently convened a forum to discuss what local governments could do to address growing concern about where local sex offenders live and work.

The discussions resulted in little action after county lawyers advised county lawmakers of the constitutional problems with such restrictions.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. colleen4
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    colleen4 - March 02, 2013 9:44 pm
    Not all who are registered sex offenders are a case of teenage boy/girl misunderstanding...In my opionion the facts of these cases should also be available...howvever they are not!
  2. larry666
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    larry666 - March 02, 2013 6:27 pm
    For many of the sexual perps,they had their warnings and knew they violated the law,they got caught either by getting the under age girl pregnant, and their relationship could have either started at a younger age,such as 14, they took their chances and got caught,end of discussion !
  3. politicoQB
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    politicoQB - March 01, 2013 5:33 pm
    Hey Mother of Dozens: how is it that these people who have served their time in jail have more constitutional rights than their victims? What constitutional right is being taken from the adult victims 10 or 20 years after their nightmare? Or are you just fond of hyperbole?
    Oh and it's "more THAN" -- not "more THEN".
  4. politicoQB
    Report Abuse
    politicoQB - March 01, 2013 5:28 pm
    Well-said, Jonny.
  5. Jonny
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    Jonny - March 01, 2013 3:35 pm
    Like it or not, these PEOPLE served their time they were sentenced to. Making them serve a life sentence is NOT humane treatment. Maybe some of you would like to paint a scarlet letter on the whoores, too? I can get behind such DRACONIAN measures for repeat offenders, but when some 19 y.o. gets labeled a sex offender because he angered the parents of his 16 y.o. girlfriend... he/she does not deserve a life sentence of where they can and can't live beyond the probation period. Some guy/girl that made a terrible mistake 20 years ago and has not re-offended does not deserve to be treated by society in this manner. The courts do have some humanity, and have ruled according to our constitution. If you don't like our laws, move to another country or enter politics and change the ones we have.
  6. bertw
    Report Abuse
    bertw - March 01, 2013 8:45 am
    LA created a residency law then built "pocket-parks" to force all their offenders out. AmeriKKKA at its best.
  7. neverforget911
    Report Abuse
    neverforget911 - March 01, 2013 8:25 am
    So long as they still have to register and their photo, address and offence is posted on the web site for registered sex offenders. I don't see the problem.
  8. motherof3plus09
    Report Abuse
    motherof3plus09 - March 01, 2013 8:15 am
    Love love how these CONVICTED sex offenders have more protected constitutional rights then the children they have victimized
  9. Uzi
    Report Abuse
    Uzi - March 01, 2013 5:29 am
    Why all the discussion? Just pick a side, pass a Bill of Necessity (doesn't even matter if it's constitutional or not), and inform the public after it happens.
    Pretty simple, right?

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