Debate Over Cheektowaga Sex Offender Law

The Cheektowaga Town Council held a hearing on April 25 concerning the repeal of the town’s sex offender law. This law has been the subject of recent controversy based on a ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals. WIVB spoke to constitutional attorney Barry Covert about the law and its enforceability. The full story is available here.

More restrictive than state code

The Town of Cheektowaga’s sex offender law is more restrictive than the state code. In Cheektowaga, the restriction radius around places like schools and parks is 1500 feet, which is larger than the State’s restriction radius of 1000 feet. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled that Cheektowaga’s law was unconstitutional and the town recently had a meeting to debate repealing the law. Mr. Covert spoke to WIVB about how the Town of Cheektowaga Police could handle enforcement of the state and local laws.

Challenges for law enforcement

“I would think that the police chief is probably getting phone calls. There’s probably confusion,” Mr. Covert said. He told WIVB that the police are “probably getting calls saying, ‘Hey, there’s a registered sex offender living within so many feet of a house, or my house, or a park.’”

Mr. Covert told WIVB that dealing with this issue could be challenging for law enforcement. “The police chief knows he can’t enforce the Cheektowaga code,” Mr. Covert explained. “They can enforce the state code, which is much less restrictive, but they cannot enforce the local code.”

About Barry N. Covert

Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.