HARTFORD--A Connecticut law unfairly stigmatizes those who are forced to register as dangerous sex offenders without being allowed to show that they are not a threat to the community, a federal court here ruled today.
The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the state's Sex Offender Registry Act, greeted the ruling as a victory for the due process rights of the accused.
""This ruling confirms what we have been arguing all along,"" said Philip Tegeler, Legal Director of the ACLU's Connecticut affiliate, ""that if the state wants to have this kind of registration law, it needs to observe basic due process and give non-dangerous individuals a way to opt out of the listing.""
While United States District Court Judge Robert N. Chatigny upheld the right to due process for sex offenders who are at risk for sex offender registration, he failed to rule the entire registration act unconstitutional. The ACLU had challenged the Act because it imposes an additional punishment that was not in place at the time of conviction.
The court will decide at a later date on the appropriate remedy for the due process violation.
Shelley R. Sadin of the firm Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport, is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs on behalf of the ACLU.