By JON ALEXANDER
QUEENSBURY - A state Supreme Court judge has tossed Warren County’s sex offender law, concluding that the restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live and work ran counter to state law.
The county Board of Supervisors in 2006 passed the local law that banned sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, schools and public parks for their entire lives.
State law bans sex offenders from living in proximity of places frequented by children only until they’ve completed parole.
Warren County state Supreme Court Justice Robert Muller ruled Wednesday in favor of an unidentified Queensbury man who was told last year he couldn’t move in with his mother in Queensbury.
“While they may be well-intended, statistics show they don’t make anyone safer and they further stigmatize former offenders,” said Kathy Manley, “John Doe’s” Albany-based attorney.
Manley’s client was convicted in 2010 of sexual acts with a minor who was under 16, and he served two years in prison, according to court documents.
Local laws like Warren County’s were adopted over the past decade in places throughout the state and have since repeatedly been struck down when challenged in court, because they are superseded by state law.
Warren County opted to not contest the lawsuit and send it to a lengthy, and potentially costly, court battle because similar local laws had fared poorly in state court.
“The decision is consistent with many court decisions from other counties,” said County Attorney Martin Auffredou. “The decision sort of speaks for itself.”
The laws keep sex offenders from finding work and medical and psychological treatment, essentially subjugating them to poverty and a lack of treatment, Manley said.
Auffredou suspended enforcement of the law in February after “John Doe’s” lawsuit was filed.
The county Board of Supervisors has taken no steps to override the local sex offender law, instead allowing the Supreme Court ruling to uphold or strike down the proximity ban.