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Risk Levels For Parolees Said Unfair

A federal judge, saying the process was unfair, ordered the state Monday to stop assigning risk levels to convicted sex offenders.

U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin granted a temporary restraining order stopping the release of risk classifications for the 4,300 sex offenders who were on parole or probation and the 1,500 offenders who were imprisoned when the law took effect in January 1996.

Sex offenders are classified at one of three levels, from the least violent and the lowest risk for recidivism to potentially violent and high risk of repeat offenses.

The Legal Aid Society of New York brought the suit, saying thousands of sex offenders had been assigned risk levels without court hearings or legal representation.

A hot line providing information on registered sex offenders will go ahead in the next few days as planned, said Joe Mahoney, a spokesman for state Attorney General Dennis Vacco.

The law was modeled after a New Jersey statute named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a sex offender who lived across the street.