Lawsuit against sex offender laws - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawsuit against sex offender laws

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October 12, 2006

Albany -- A new lawsuit claims Georgia's tough new sex offender law could put some nursing home residents out on the street.

A couple of human rights groups filed the suit claiming portions of the law are irrational.

The law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within one thousand feet of churches or any place children gather.

Critics say many nursing homes and hospice facilities fall in those prohibited zones. They say people in those facilities aren't a threat to society because of their health conditions.

Prosecutors say the law is designed to keep the community safe, but judges have the final say.

"If a judge can determine that the person is not a danger to society, then the judge can make an individual ruling on each case," said District Attorney Ken Hodges.

Without an injunction, critics say some disabled or elderly people on the registry will be evicted from nursing homes or healthcare facilities and have nowhere to live.

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