High court strikes down offender law

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Cherry Hill Sun

A decision handed down from the state Supreme Court last week declared Megan’s Law as an all-encompassing system to regulate convicted sex offenders. In turn, the court turned down the township’s fight to create sex offender-free zones in various locations in Cherry Hill.

The Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling from an appellate court last summer that considered Megan’s Law to be an all-encompassing, comprehensive system chosen by the Legislature to protect society from possible acts by convicted sex offenders.

“Accordingly, we hold that Cherry Hill Township’s and Galloway Township’s ordinances, establishing residency restrictions that formed buffer zones for convicted sex offenders living within their communities, are precluded by the present, stark language of Megan’s Law.

“It is that language which controls,” a release from the Supreme Court stated.

Dan Keashen, Cherry Hill public information officer, said the township is disappointed with the ruling from the Supreme Court and respectfully disagrees with the outcome.

“While we believe Megan’s Law is well crafted, we also believe that it can be improved,” he said.

“The improvement would be the residency restrictions we passed with the ordinance. The restrictions themselves help municipalities bolster their number one priority, which is public safety.”

The township will continue to review its legal options and will continue to fight for the ordinance it believes serves the majority of Cherry Hill residents, Keashen said.

See this week’s print edition of The Sun for the full story.