Judge Blocks Ga. Law Forcing 8 Sex Offenders to Move Away From Bus Stops

A federal judge on Monday blocked Georgia from targeting eight individuals with its sweeping law that would bar sex offenders from living near school bus stops.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper's ruling came in a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Center for Human Rights challenging a Georgia law scheduled to go into effect on Saturday that would make it nearly impossible for the state's more than 10,000 registered sex offenders to live in urban and suburban areas, said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer for the Southern Center for Human Rights.

It will "banish people from their homes," she said.

Although many states have barred offenders from working and living near schools, Georgia's law goes farther by restricting them from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.

Cooper's temporary restraining order applies only to eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Lawyers for the state said the law is necessary for public safety.

Both sides will be back in court July 11, and the plaintiffs' lawyers said they hope to persuade the judge to overturn the new bus stop limits for all sex offenders.

Lawmakers began working on the legislation last year following the arrests of two sex offenders in the slayings of two girls in neighboring Florida.