Georgia's top court overturned a state law Wednesday that banned registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches and other areas where children congregate.
"It is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected," read the unanimous opinion, written by presiding Justice Carol Hunstein.
The law had been targeted by civil rights groups who argued it would render vast residential areas off-limits to Georgia's roughly 11,000 registered sex offenders and could backfire by encouraging offenders to stop reporting their whereabouts to authorities.
State lawmakers adopted the law in 2006, calling it crucial to protecting the state's most vulnerable population: children.
Georgia's law, which took effect last year, prohibited them from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of just about anywhere children gather — schools, churches, parks, gyms, swimming pools or one of the state's 150,000 school bus stops.
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