Is SORA a Remedial Law Meant for Safety of Public from Dangerous Sexual Predators ?
In People v. Afrika (168 Misc 2d 618, 622-623 [Sup Ct, Monroe County 1996]), the court stated:
"The aforesaid preamble [of legislative purpose] evinces an unmistakable intent to promote public safety and enhance law enforcement efforts by providing for the accumulation and dissemination of pertinent information regarding dangerous sex offenders. Nevertheless, the Legislature's proclamation as to its remedial intent is not dispositive, as noble rhetoric or 'civil label' may mask a lurking punitive purpose."
That court then looked at the "overall design" of the Act and attempted to ferret out any "secret agenda."
It found it was not excessive in its reach or burdens; it held it to be a measured response to a perceived danger and also reached the conclusion that the notification scheme did not violate constitutional protections.
"SORA unquestionably passes muster as a remedial law, since the burdens that are imposed were occasioned by bona fide governmental concerns regarding the peril presented to the public by known sexual predators who are at liberty." (Afrika, supra, at 626; see also, People v. Cropper, 170 Misc 2d 631 [Sup Ct, Monroe County 1996]; People v. Roe, 177 Misc 2d 960 [Nassau County Ct 1998].)