The following is a statement regarding the above-captioned matter. It will serve as the only press comment on this issue from this office today.
At the request of our clients in Paul P. et al v. John J. Farmer Jr., the Office of the Public Defender has filed papers with the Third Circuit to appeal Tuesday's decision by U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas to vacate his previous injunction on disseminating Megan's Law notifications.
Our clients expressed their disappointment in Judge Irenas' ruling, especially regarding the issue of whether they should be afforded a constitutionally protected right to privacy in their home addresses.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals previously held in this matter that a person's home address carries a constitutionally protected right to privacy. Because of that holding, the right of privacy in a home address applies to all New Jersey residents.
While the Third Circuit held that home address information can be disseminated to those who have been designated by a New Jersey court to have a need for that information, it also held that such a determination "does not strip the information of its protection against disclosure to those who have no similar need, and we have required the government to implement adequate safeguards against unnecessary disclosures."
It was our clients' belief that Judge Irenas' ruling issued Tuesday, April 11, was not consistent with that Third Circuit opinion and should therefore be appealed. The papers were filed Thursday afternoon.