In July 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice implemented the National Sex Offender Public Registry, which links the registries of individual states. A year later, the Adam Walsh Bill created the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, which required the Department of Justice to maintain a comprehensive national sex offender registry.
The purpose of this article is to examine the statutory provisions of every state and the District of Columbia regarding the use of the Internet as a tool in administering Megan's Law. The analysis begins by examining sex offender registration and notification laws at the federal level and discussing major federal legislation and United States Supreme Court cases that impact how states draft their Megan's Laws. Next, the portions of each state's Megan's Law that mentions the Internet as a notification tool, if any, are categorized. This article concludes that though state legislatures have embraced the Internet as a notification model, the model itself will not be effective unless the registry information disseminated is accurate and up-to-date. States can help ensure the effectiveness of online registries by including provisions in their statutes for the accuracy, timeliness, and publicity of the sites.
Christina Locke & Bill F. Chamberlin, Safe from Sex Offenders? Legislating Internet Publication of Sex Offender Registries, 39 Urban Lawyer 1 (2007), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/710