Denied: Motion to Terminate Megan’s Law Registration and Parole Supervision for Life (“PSL”)

In the Matter of Registrant F.R.

Docket No. A-2083-21

Decided September 26, 2022

Submitted by New Jersey Sex Crime Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey reviewed defendant’s appeal of the trial court’s order denying his motion to terminate Megan’s Law registration and parole supervision for life (“PSL”).

In 2004, defendant, who was nineteen years old at the time, was charged with having sexual intercourse with an eleven year old victim. In 2005, defendant pled guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, was sentenced to Megan’s Law and PSL, and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Defendant violated his parole a total of four times. In 2007, his parole officer discovered that he had a private Myspace account and a Yahoo! account. In 2011, defendant admitted using the internet daily for dating websites and logging into his wife’s Facebook account to meet women. In 2018, he admitted to using various different social media platforms, and in 2020, defendant stayed with his aunt without his parole officer’s permission to do so.

Defendant had several psychological evaluations conducted on him throughout the years. The psychological evaluations diagnosed him with mild intellectual disability, adjustment disorder, PTSD, depressive disorder, and substance abuse. However, a November 2020 evaluation concluded defendant’s repeated violations do not appear to be the result of purposeful manipulation or opposition to the PSL stipulations. They were attributed to defendant’s low intellectual functioning. The evaluator found the defendant to be a low risk for sexual recidivism.

In January 2021, defendant moved to terminate his Megan’s Law and PSL obligations. He had a score of 34 points on the Megan’s Law Risk Assessment Score, and was therefore classified as Tier One, with no internet access. The trial court denied the motion and reasoned that although the defendant had not reoffended or commit any other crimes besides his parole violations and a sanctioning by the parole board, which were not considered ‘offenses’ under the Megan’s Law statute, the trial court found that the defendant failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he is not likely to recidivate and pose a threat to the safety of others. The trial court stated that repeated parole violations demonstrate either a total disregard for the rules of his parole or a complete lack of understanding. Ultimately, the trial court concluded that the defendant’s psychological evaluation classifying him as a low risk to reoffend was flawed because it failed to consider the factor regarding defendant’s past supervisory failures.

On appeal, defendant argued that he had proved by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. Specifically, he contended that he should not have been prohibited from using social media and his use of social networking does not make him a threat to the public; his statements concerning the victim’s age, the victim’s coercive behavior, and his 2020 parole sanction do not make him a threat to the community; and his intellectual disabilities do not make him a threat to the safety of others.

The Appellate Court did not agree with his position and affirmed the trial court’s ruling for the reasons expressed in the trial court’s opinion. The Appellate Court stated that the decision in this case does not turn on the social media restrictions imposed on the defendant, but rather series of conduct, including deceptive behavior, alcohol abuse, possession of “teen” pornography, and ongoing mental health deficits. Moreover, the Appellate court found no abuse of discretion in the trial judge’s factual findings or the weight he gave to the defendant’s psychological evaluation.

At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to motions to terminate PSL and Megan’s Law registration. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.

We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation to that of either party in this case, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington, Haddon Heights, Pine Hill, Bellmawr, Haddon Township, Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.

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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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