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Letter: Let State Enforce Residency Laws (Albany Times-Union)

To the Editor:

It has been reported that Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider is suggesting that the town may want to consider placing restrictions on where registered ex-sex offenders may live.

If the town pursues such a strategy, it will be inviting both political upheaval – as occurred in Schenectady when that county attempted a similar strategy – and legal challenges, which the town will likely lose.

As reported in the Times-Union, the courts have invalidated the Rensselaer County residency law.

A similar law was struck down earlier this year in Rockland County. Both laws are unconstitutional because they seek to pre-empt state law.

New York state law already puts severe but carefully thought-out restrictions on those who have been convicted of sexual offenses. Under Meghan’s Law, even the least threatening ex-offender must register with local police for 20 years; all others, unless specifically exempted, must register for life. Those deemed most dangerous must personally verify their addresses with local law enforcement every 90 days.

We strongly urge the town of Colonie to refrain from enacting unjust and unconstitutional residency laws.

Instead, it should allow and encourage the state to enforce the laws that already exist.

Melanie Trimble
Director, Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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