Law barring sex offenders near schools temporarily blocked

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked Rhode Island from enforcing a law that bars certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.

U.S. District Judge John McConnell on Friday issued a temporary restraining order for 10 days, granting a request by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision,” said defense attorney Lynette Labinger.

The law was enacted this year and applies to Level 3 sex offenders, considered the most likely to reoffend.

The ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against the state this week. It says the law is unconstitutionally vague, violates due process, retroactively punishes those who already completed their sentences and interferes with privacy interests without a legitimate purpose.

“I know these people are people, but so are their victims. It’s a horrible feeling for a mother. And the further they are away from the school the better,” said Jackie Leoncavallo.

The state argued similar restrictions have been imposed elsewhere, and those affected can find other places to live.Annie Shalvey contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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