In re CK, 182 A.3d 917 (N.J. 2018)
Nature of Case: Appellant was convicted of a sexual offense as a juvenile, which meant he was required to register under New Jersey law. The provisions of New Jersey law that he was required to register under meant that he had to register for life with no opportunity to petition the court for relief from registration. Appellant had petitioned the court for relief twice, both times the petition was denied. C.K. appealed the second denial, and this denial was affirmed by the appellate court. C.K. then sought review from the state’s highest court which was granted and limited to the question of whether mandated lifetime registration for juveniles with no opportunity for relief violated state substantive due process.
Holding: New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the decision of the appellate court, finding that New Jersey’s law prohibiting juvenile offenders convicted of certain sex offenses from ever petitioning for relief from sex offense registration was unconstitutional and violated state substantive due process protections. The Court reasoned that the state statutory scheme allowed for some juvenile registrants to be able to petition for relief, though denied this ability to others and imposed an irrebuttable lifetime presumption of dangerousness to them. This presumption, in turn, and in light of the record, social science, and other caselaw regarding juveniles violated state Substantive Due Process Protections.