leave of court . . . ." Order of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Chief Justice Wilentz (Oct. 18, 1995) (emphasis added). Also, the Order allows the "appeals [to] be disposed of by an order without formal written opinion . . . ." Id. It is crystal clear that this is a summary proceeding, limited in nature and scope, which is designed solely to provide review of Tier classification and extent of notification, and nothing more.
In light of these facts, it is evident to the Court that plaintiff E.B's constitutional claims were never considered by the state courts because of the narrowness of the hearing provided for by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Doe. See Transcript of In the Matter of E.B. at 9-13 to 21 (N.J. Law Div. Dec. 7, 1995). The instant Complaint does not challenge the state court's ruling as to Tier classification or notification. Rather the Complaint asserts that the application of Megan's Law in its entirety violates the ex post facto clause, prohibition against double jeopardy, and protection of due process rights under the United States Constitution. Plaintiff was unable to raise these claims in the hearing provided for by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Doe. Hence, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not impede this Court's exercise of subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's cause of action.
II. Preliminary Injunction
Upon finding that the Court has jurisdiction to entertain plaintiff's Complaint, the Court is now faced with the difficult decision of what remedy to employ. Plaintiff has requested that the Court grant a preliminary injunction until the Court is able to make a final determination on plaintiff's ex post facto and double jeopardy claims. Likewise, defendants have argued that plaintiff is not entitled to preliminary injunctive relief.
The standards for issuance of a preliminary injunction are well-settled. In ruling on a motion for preliminary injunction, the Court must consider: (1) the likelihood that the plaintiff will prevail on the merits; (2) the extent to which the plaintiff is being irreparably harmed; and, where relevant, (3) the extent to which the defendant or other interested persons will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is issued; and (4) the extent to which the public interest favors the granting of the requested relief. See Merchant & Evans, Inc. v. Roosevelt Bldg. Prods., 963 F.2d 628, 632-33 (3d Cir. 1992), on remand, 1192 WL 160880 (E.D. Pa. June 24, 1992); Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Co., Inc., 903 F.2d 186, 197-98 (3d Cir. 1990) (citations omitted). See also Morton v. Beyer, 822 F.2d 364, 367 (3d Cir. 1987). "The grant of injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy . . . which should be granted only in limited circumstances." Frank's GMC Truck Ctr., Inc. v. General Motors Corp., 847 F.2d 100, 102 (3d Cir 1988) (citing United States v. City of Philadelphia, 644 F.2d 187, 191 n.1 (3d Cir. 1980)). See also Falter v. Veterans Admin., 632 F. Supp. 196, 201 (D.N.J. 1986) (quotations omitted) ("There is no power the exercise of which is more delicate, which requires greater caution, deliberation, and sound discretion, or more dangerous in a doubtful case, than the issuing [of] an injunction."). An injunction should issue only if the plaintiff produces evidence sufficient to convince the court that all four factors favor preliminary relief. Opticians Ass'n of Amer. v. Independent Opticians of Amer., 920 F.2d 187, 192 (3d Cir. 1990).
The first element which the plaintiff much establish for the Court is that he or she has "a reasonable probability of eventual success in the litigation." In Re Arthur Treacher's Franchisee Litigation, 689 F.2d 1137, 1147 (3d Cir. 1982). Plaintiff E.B. relies on this Court's previous holding in Artway that the Tier Two and Tier Three notification provision in Megan's Law are unconstitutional on its face. See Artway, 876 F. Supp. at 692. Defendants, on the other hand, argue that under the New Jersey Supreme Court's opinion in Doe, plaintiff cannot demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits. See Doe, 142 N.J. at 73, 662 A.2d 367. As noted above, the Court stands by its decision in Artway, and therefore finds that plaintiff does have a reasonable probability of eventual success on the merits. Accordingly, plaintiff has satisfied the first prong of the preliminary injunction analysis.
Second, plaintiff must show that he will suffer irreparable harm "which cannot be redressed by a legal or an equitable remedy following trial." Acierno v. New Castle County, 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir. 1994). The harm "must be of a peculiar nature, so that compensation in money cannot atone for it.'" ECRI v. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 809 F.2d 223, 226 (3d Cir. 1987) (quoting Glasco v. Hills, 558 F.2d 179, 181 (3d Cir. 1977). Where constitutional rights have been infringed upon, the threat of irreparable injury and disservice to the public interest is clear. Doe v. Duncanville Indep. Sch. Dist., 994 F.2d 160, 166 (5th Cir. 1993). This Court has previously recognized that "the public dissemination of a registrant's information may well affect his employability, his business associations with his neighbors, and thus, his ability to return to a normal private law-abiding life in the community." Artway, 876 F. Supp. a 689. As further evidence that plaintiff E.B. will be irreparably harmed if defendants are permitted to proceed with notification under Megan's Law, plaintiff introduced a threatening letter which was received at his residence on January 31, 1996.
The Court is persuaded that these types of threats, as well as those concerns outlined in Artway, constitute irreparable harm upon which the Court can grant a preliminary injunction.
Once the notifications are effectuated by defendants, there is no way to retract it; there is no way to unscramble an egg. No amount of money or prospective relief will eliminate the image of plaintiff or his crimes from the minds of those who are notified. Hence, the Court concludes that plaintiff has clearly demonstrated that he will suffer irreparable injury if a preliminary injunction is not issued. In contrast, defendants will not suffer irreparable injury upon the Court's issuance of a preliminary injunction. Defendants' do not argue to the contrary in their brief.
Finally, the Court may consider the interest of the public when deciding to grant or deny a preliminary injunction. Defendants argue that "legislative intent and the safety of the citizenry are paramount" to the plaintiff's rights. On balance, the Court cannot agree that an individual's rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution must give way to that public interest. Since his release by the Virginia Prison Authority in 1989, plaintiff has been a law-abiding and productive member of society.
Because the Court finds that plaintiff has successfully established the four elements required for this Court to grant a preliminary injunction, the Court will GRANT the instant application for preliminary relief.
Accordingly, the Court TEMPORARILY ENJOINS defendants from Tier Three notification regarding plaintiff under Megan's Law.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that it is not prevented by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine from exercising subject matter jurisdiction. Furthermore, the Court holds that plaintiff has satisfied the Court that he is entitled to a preliminary injunction. Accordingly, plaintiff's application is GRANTED, and defendants are TEMPORARILY ENJOINED from implementing Tier Two and Tier Three notifications under Megan's Law until further Order of this Court. Of course, after the decision of the Third Circuit in Artway is issued, either party may move the Court for such relief as may be appropriate on short notice.
An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
NICHOLAS H. POLITAN
This matter having come before the Court on plaintiff E.B.'s application for an Order to Show Cause why defendants Deborah T. Poritz, Attorney General of the State of New Jersey; Charles R. Buckley, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor; and James Mosley, Chief of Police of the City of Englewood, New Jersey, should not be enjoined from implementing the provisions of the Registration and Community Notification Laws (hereinafter "Megan's Law"), N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 to 11, and why a Preliminary Injunction should not issue pending a final disposition of the matter, and the Court having heard oral argument, and considered the submissions of the parties, and for the reasons appearing more particularly in the Letter Opinion of this Court in the above-captioned matter, and good cause having been shown,
IT IS on this 1st day of February, 1996, hereby
ORDERED that plaintiff's application is GRANTED, and it is further
ORDERED that defendants are TEMPORARILY ENJOINED from implementing Tier Two and Tier Three notification under Megan's Law as to plaintiff until further Order of this Court.
NICHOLAS H. POLITAN