A federal appeals court has ruled that Suffolk County didn’t violate the rights of a registered sex offender which it had visited on two occasions. The ruling found that Long Island County was within its rights to visit the addresses of any sex offenders to ensure that they were correct and current.
It was two visits by the private nonprofit organization Parents for Megan’s Law which started the legal battle. The offender, who remains anonymous sued in 2015 — alleging that the visits by the organization, which was under contract with the Suffolk County, constituted unreasonable seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
The appeal was launched after a lower-court judge ruled that the visits were considered reasonable because the primary purpose of the visits was to confirm the address of the registered sex offender.
“In sum, the program advances the government’s substantial interest in reducing sex offender recidivism by improving the accuracy of the registry,” the 2nd Circuit said.
The senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, Erin Beth Harrist believes otherwise, stating that the court ruling “does nothing to further safety.”
“Everyone should have the right to be protected from unreasonable and suspicion-less searches, especially when they are carried out at their front doors by people who are not law enforcement,” she said.
Despite the Parents for Megan’s Law conducting thousands of home visits to verify addresses and referring hundreds of leads to the Suffolk County Police Department, only 19 people had been arrested based on tips.
No matter what your personal circumstances are, it’s always important that you understand what your rights are and what civil liberties you’re entitled to. Never assume that you understand the law and always consult with a legal professional whenever you’re facing any sort of legal matter. Let the professionals look after your life; it’s what they do.