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Federal judge extends order putting Georgia sex-offender law on hold

[JURIST] A federal judge has extended a temporary restraining order [PDF text; JURIST report] preventing the state of Georgia from fully enforcing a law that restricts where convicted sex offenders can live. The restraining order issued Monday applied only to the eight plaintiffs in the case, but US District Judge Clarence Cooper [official profile] in the Northern District of Georgia [official website] extended the order [ruling, PDF] to include all sex offenders who live within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop Thursday. State attorney general spokesman Russ Willard said the government will appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website]. The law [legislative materials], which was due to take effect on July 1, forbids people convicted of certain sex-related crimes from living or working within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, church, school or "area where minors congregate," including school bus stops. A violation is a felony punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison.

The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) [advocacy website], which is representing the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit [complaint, PDF; SCHR materials], says that the law violates several constitutional provisions and at least one federal statute, and that it would require all but a few of the state's offenders to move. Cooper has scheduled a hearing in the case for July 11. AP has more. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has local coverage [registration required].

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