Legal Supervisor: Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Spence
Investigative Supervisor: Sergeant Michelle Chambers-Larsen
The Megan’s Law Unit is responsible for implementing Megan’s Law in Camden County. This includes overseeing sex offender registration, determining risk classification, handling court hearings and conducting subsequent community notification. The unit also investigates and prosecutes individuals who are not in compliance with registration obligations.
In 2012 the unit sent more than 1,400 notifications to schools, day cares and community organizations. Also in 2012, the unit prosecuted more than 100 individuals for Megan’s Law and Community Supervision for Life violations. Currently, the unit has approximately 1,191 open cases of registered sex offenders. An average of 5 to 10 new cases are opened monthly reflecting new registered sex offenders living in Camden County, which has the third highest number of registered sex offenders in the State. There were more than 1,400 re-registrations in 2012, reflecting the transitory nature of this population. Moreover, since the creation of the Sex Offender Internet Registry, the unit has posted 533 offenders on the Internet.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Assistant Prosecutor determines the risk posed by the convicted sex offenders and presents evidence at court hearings for initial and amended Megan’s Law notifications. The assistant prosecutor determines the scope of community notification and if Internet publication is appropriate. The unit conducted approximately 206 tier hearings in 2012, and opened 91 new files.
The Assistant Prosecutor reviews investigations in instances of individuals who are not in compliance with Megan’s Law registration requirements, and, when appropriate, indicts and prosecutes those individuals. The unit works with designated New Jersey State Parole Officers to investigate and prosecute violations of Community and Parole Supervision for Life requirements and GPS violations.
The unit’s investigators oversee sex offender registration and processes re-registrations from all Camden County municipalities and the Human Services Police. The investigators and local police departments coordinate community notifications. In 2012, the investigators conducted 10 door-to-door (Tier III) community notifications and 120 individual Tier II notifications in Camden County. The investigators also verify addresses for offenders released from prison and investigate individuals not in compliance with the registration requirements. The investigators personally serve all offenders in the county with documents required for court hearings. The unit maintains an internal sex offender database and works with the New Jersey State Police to update the Sex Offender Internet Registry.
The support staff prepares all documentation to be served to offenders in advance of court hearings. The staff also prepares court orders, notification fliers and notification maps. They update and maintain databases for schools, daycares and community organizations and coordinate notification with those agencies via the local police departments.
The unit also responds to inquiries about Megan’s Law from the public and law enforcement and conducts information sessions with community groups and police departments.