Megan’s Law set up a sex offender database, as well as authorizing public notification when an offender moved into a neighborhood.
According to this news report, a real estate developer filed suit against a former sex offender for ruining sales at a subdivision. The developer also filed suit against the real estate company that bought the house for the criminal.
Can’t say that I’m particularly sympathetic to the two principals. The sex offender preyed upon the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. The developer squandered any good feeling I had by trying to drag this into court. Looks to me like he’s trying to bankrupt the ex-con through legal bills so he would be forced to sell.
The cops and the real estate company which bought the house, however, were just doing their jobs. I notice that the suit doesn’t name the police, probably because there’s no chance that it would win. A company that’s hired to find houses for people might just have some money in the bank. Looks like the developer is hoping for a sympathetic jury so they can get some damages awarded.
So who’s to blame here? The criminal? Well, sure, he’s responsible ’cause he’s the guy who committed the crime. But is he responsible for bringing down property values after the police, obeying federal law, plaster fliers all over the neighborhood? Probably not.
In many states it’s against the law to discriminate against someone due to race, creed or sexual orientation. Would it be considered discrimination if you refused to sell a house to a sex offender, knowing that the value of your property would plummet?
I’d say no, but I’ve never worked that side of the bench. (In fact I never was even called to testify on this side.)