A ruling against residency restrictions imposed on sex offenders by towns in Massachusetts reflects a trend, Professor Dan Filler said in an article appearing in the Boston Globe on Aug. 28.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down local laws that banned sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools or parks, contending they exceeded a 1999 state law that created a system for identifying, registering and monitoring sex offenders.
The senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, Filler has studied the effects of social anxiety on the development of criminal law. He said the recent Massachusetts ruling is consistent with a growing view that statewide restrictions on sex offenders have a stronger basis in law than local rules.
“States have increasingly recognized that this is a problem that can only be solved at the state level because, if left to municipalities, it just becomes a game of one town after another putting up walls in their own jurisdiction,” Filler said.