Temporary stay on bus stop portion of sex offender law reversed

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A federal judge in Atlanta has ended his temporary order that stopped the state from banning sex offenders from living near school bus stops.

Judge Clarence Cooper's ruling this afternoon means thousands of sex offenders in Georgia will have to move immediately.

Only on 12, News 12's Laurie Ott sat down with District Attorney Danny Craig just minutes after the judge's ruling.

He's advising the sheriffs in Richmond, Columbia and Burke Counties to go ahead and start giving notices to move to offenders who, until now, have been allowed to stay where they are.

Craig says Judge Cooper's orders are clear: any offender living within 1000 feet of a school bus stop has to move.

"I don't think there are any of my three sheriffs who will hesitate in the least in rounding people up and putting them in jail," he says, "and I certainly will bring them to trial for violating the sex offender registry law."

When we told him Columbia County sheriff's deputies have already started calling offenders, giving them 72 hours notice to move, he said offenders have already been given plenty of notice.

"I think it's reasonable to be given 72 hours," he said. "It's not necessary that they be given 72 hours. Indeed, they were given way more time, way more notice than that, as we were anticipating the effective date of the law on July 1."

Columbia County deputies spent the rest of this afternoon calling sex offenders, notifying them of the ruling and that they'll have to move.

Approximately 30 of the 40 offenders in Columbia County live too close to bus stops.

Hundreds more in Richmond County will have to move also.

Mr. Craig doesn't think sex offenders have much of a chance of appealing this ruling.

He says the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is not likely to overturn the state's right to tell offenders where they can and cannot live.