Middlesex County sex offender not entitled to new trial on Megan’s Law address registration violation

Following his conviction in 2010 for failing to verify his address and failing to register a change of address as required by Megan’s Law, a Middlesex County sex offender was deemed ineligible for a new trial last month. State v. Harcher, No. A-4841-11T4 (Oct. 1, 2013).


The defendant was convicted for child endangerment in 1994 and was sentenced to jail time as well as lifetime supervision under Megan’s Law. Upon his release from prison he was advised of the sex offender address registration requirements that applied under Megan’s Law and he provided his mother’s address as his residence. When he subsequently failed to verify this address, however, the police went to the property and discovered that his mother had moved away. He was then charged with failing to verify his address and failing to notify police of a change in address.


Before seeking a new trial, the defendant had appealed his conviction on the ground that there was insufficient proof, but the jury and the court disagreed. The defendant then commenced this litigation, claiming that he had ineffective legal counsel. His first argument was that his attorney failed to adequately investigate the existence of an unnamed police officer who allegedly told him that he did not have to register. This claim, the court found, was completely uncorroborated, and his attorney’s failure to find the mystery police officer provided no basis for a new trial. The defendant also contended that his attorney “coerced” him not to testify, but the court concluded that it was more “advice” than “coercion” and that it did not amount to inadequate legal performance.


For more information about defending sex offender registration violations in Middlesex County, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, Esq., at 908-337-7353 for a free consultation.