Sex Offender Challenges Constitutionality of Rockland Residency Law

yoel oberlanderBy Vos Iz Neias News
October 28, 2008

A sex offender is making a second stab at challenging the constitutionality of a Rockland law that limits where he and other classified abusers can live in the county.

Yoel Oberlander, 28, of Monsey argues in court papers that the county law preempts state law and therefore should be voided.

The Rockland County Attorney’s Office is defending the 2007 law as valid, since no New York state court has ruled on the issues being raised by Oberlander.

The county law prohibits high-risk sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, public pools, day care facilities or other facilities that cater to children. The law empowers police to investigate people found in those areas who are considered suspicious. People in violation of the law face a misdemeanor charge.

Oberlander’s legal papers, filed yesterday, will be dissected by state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly, who sits in the Rockland Courthouse in New City.

Kelly upheld the county law in July after an initial challenge by Oberlander and Betzalel Dym, 22, of Monsey on religious grounds.

Oberlander’s court papers cite a New Jersey court ruling voiding local living zones for sex offenders as conflicting with that state’s law.

Oberlander also argues the Rockland law is not consistent since it allows sex offenders to live within the 1,000-foot zones, if they had been there before passage of the law.

The Rockland law, he argues, also defies the state law’s desire to integrate sex offenders within the community, rather than creating enclaves within the county.

The Legislature adopted the law and County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef signed it, though there were misgivings concerning the effectiveness of the law.