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New Jersey May Retroactively Impose GPS Monitoring on Sex Offender Sentenced to Community Supervision for Life

On January 19, 2016, a New Jersey court of appeals held that it was not a violation of the New Jersey or federal ex post facto clauses to retroactively impose GPS monitoring for life on a person serving community supervision for life (CSL).

Ernest Jones was convicted of second-degree sexual assault in 2000 and sentenced to five years in prison. The Violent Predator Incapacitation Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4, required that he also be sentenced to CSL, essentially life on parole. He began serving CSL in 2002.

Effective August 6, 2007, New Jersey enacted the Sex Offender Monitories Act (SOLIA), N.J.C.A. AOA:72-10(a)3-(b)2, authorizing; the imposition of a special condition of GPS electronic monitoring for persons on CSL. On August i4, 20e2, while Jones was serving a one-year prison sentence for his eighth and ninth violations of CSL conditions, the New Jersey State Parole Board served him with notice the GPS monitoring was being imposed on him. Upon his release from prison, he was fitted with a GPS tracker.

About two weeks later, he removed the tracker. Eighth months later, he was arrested. He was eventually convicted for faint's to comply with the GPS monitoring: system and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He appealed.

The court of appeals Vela that the imposition of GPS monitoring did not violate the ex post facto clauses in the state or federal constitutions. Further, Jones received adequate due process and his attorney was not ineffective for failing to raise the futile issue.

The court noted that this case differed from Riley v. New Jersey State Parole Board, 29 N.J. 220 (2014), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the retroactive application of the GPS monitoring requirement to a convicted sex offender who had completed his sentence and was not under any form of parole supervision violated the state and federal ex post facto clauses. Riley was not under CSL or parole supervision and had never been charged with a violation of parole.

Jones had been charged with nine violations of CSL and had absconded. Since it was permissible to order electronic monitoring as a special condition of CSL before passage of SOLIA and Jones was a likely candidate for it and since GPS monitoring was merely a more sophisticated version of electronic monitoring, Jones could not show how it increased his punishment. Therefore, the conviction was affirmed. See: State v. Jones, Superior Court of New Jersey-Appellate Division, January 19, 2016. Case no. A-5383-13T1.

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Related legal cases

State v. Jones

Riley v. New Jersey State Parole Board