Federal Lawsuit Challenges Sex Offender Bans in Parks of Four Orange County Cities

Just days after District Attorney Tony Rackauckas honored Fountain Valley for approving on first reading a ban on registered sex offenders in city parks--based on a county law he co-wrote--word came that a registered sex offender has sued two cities bordering Fountain Valley and two other Orange County cities that have all adopted similar ordinances. The unnamed plaintiff, who is represented by a San Francisco law firm, has targeted Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Lake Forest with his complaint filed in federal court.

See also:

Pervs, Molesters and Creepers--Oh, My! DA Seeks Victims of Accused Pastor as County Parks Sex Offender Ban Sought

New York Times Discovers Perverts are Banned From Many Orange County Parks

Registered Sex Offenders Unite: Group Seeking Legislative Reform to Meet at Buena Park Church

To be clear, the lawsuit does not target Rackauckas, the Orange County District Attorney's office or the County of Orange, which in April 2011 became the first to adopt the ordinance written by the DA and Supervisor Shawn Nelson banning known perverts in county parks and recreational areas unless they first get permission from the sheriff's department, which has rarely granted such clearance.

Rackauckas, other members of his staff and Sheriff Sandra Hutchens have since lobbied other cities to enact their own bans, and many have complied, with Fountain Valley becoming the latest last week. Ironically, though T-Rack is off the hook, Hutchens is not, as she's named in the suit filed Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court because her agency patrols Lake Forest. The police chiefs of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach are also defendants.

The unnamed plaintiff claims he was convicted more than 15 years ago, served his sentence, received treatment and is now employed and married with children. The pervs-in-parks ban violates his 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, his suit maintains.

By being prevented from entering the city parks--which is public land--he is being denied the rights to peaceably assemble, speak freely and petition the government, the suit further clarifies, while saying the way the laws are written he is denied fair hearings and judicial access. Violators of the city bans face fines and possible jail time.

His suit also states that since he long ago served his sentence, the bans subject him to additional punishment for the same crime, another constitutional violation.

At the time the county adopted its law, and while seeking the expansions into Orange County cities, the DA's office has maintained the ordinances are bulletproof constitutionally. it is confident the ordinances are constitutionally sound. (*phrase has been clarified.)

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17 comments
urhairfix
urhairfix

The real issue is parents need to attend to their children. These laws have no historical justification. Has there been any record of registered sex offenders attacking children in parks or beaches? No? Then why the law? After these people go through probation, therapy and time served they only wish to live productive lives with their families. These ever increasing punitive measures are fear base not fact based and serve only to cause harm to this group that are a politician's new whipping boy to be re-elected. Registrants have a re-offense rate of only 1.9% according to the latest Department of Justice report. What Tony is saying is that a registered citizen can't be in a park or beach with their own children. Be honest about that waiver from the sheriff's department...Why would a law ENFORCEMENT agency give out passes for someone to break the law? Really?!? I saved my son's life twice because I was there to do so but the DA would have a registrant's child be without their parent and put in harms way. That ladies and gentlemen is a violation of their child's safety and rights. Where are we in pre-1945 Germany? This isn't freedom people, it's tyranny. Ever Consider just how easy it is to become a registered sex offender? In the U.S. there are even children as young as 9 years old registering as sex offenders. Many of our existing laws need to be repealed why create more that aren't based on facts but on a DA's imagination run ammuk! TRUTH

urhairfix
urhairfix

I love it when people say "aren't we passing this law for the Children" and some one replies. if we follow Hilter in saying

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

we might as well throw away the Constitution "for the sake of our children"

oncefallendotcom
oncefallendotcom

Tony Raw-carcass is doing all he can to try to sweep the Kelly Thomas murder under the rug, so what better way than to distract us with RSO stuff? If his stupid law is "bulletproof this lawsuit is an ICBM. It isn't constitutional and Tony knows it. Lets not forget it is a blanket ban and the only person getting special permission to enter the parks as an RSO had connections to a politician.  Blanket bans against one group, no matter how unpopular, is unconstitutional. 

theconstitutionrox
theconstitutionrox

Oh, if T-Rack and SKS claim these ordinance to be bulletproof constitutionally speaking,  I would be inclined to believe the exact opposite.

theconstitutionrox
theconstitutionrox

Its about freaking time someone did something about these ordinances. A place where the constitution gets bent, and the most basic rights bestowed upon its citizens by said constitution are violated in a blanket fashion in order to make some people feel good, is not a place worth living in.

laughingatyou
laughingatyou

Matt it's YOUR tax dollars paying to fight these suits that will ultimately be struck down. T-RACK has you all fooled that these laws "are bulletproof constitutionally." There have NEVER been any laws that ban people from public places (unless you were Japanese during ww2)...EVER. Kiss your money goodbye.

Rudy101
Rudy101

I do have to add, that  the registry, as a matter of law, isn't being followed.  Ever since that registry was made public there has been law after law after banishment law being passed by every level of government. 

 

That is a violation of the prohibition on ex-post facto laws, among many other violations.  

 

You really think you can put together a list, have it completely controlled by a legislature, imply that all the people on the list are dangerous, and then use the list in unlimited ways to strip the rights of people on the list?

 

You can't and you are too stupid to see why.  Your registry is a JOKE, as are the ban on entering parks.  BUT, the good news is, because you had no due process and are using the registry is such illegal ways, the police doesn't even get to know where THIS person lives.

 

The registry strips safety and/or security and doesn't give public safety.  It doesn't cross your mind that laws can't do those things and when they do, they don't have to be followed.

 

You don't live in a world anymore where you can legislate despotism.  Sorry about your registry.  But you all are pretty smart and there are really good and legal ways to run it.  In other words, you can have all your registry laws, you just don't get to apply them to whomever you want.  Those things belong in a court of law.  

 

DUH!

Rudy101
Rudy101

I wonder who else you can call "pervert" solely through a list the State compiles?  You know, it really helps your case to call someone a, "pervert."  while his civil rights are being systematically shredded without even so much as a hearing.  Do you refer to the children of perverts as "children of perverts"?  NAH... you don't have to do that.  The schools, their friends, their neighbors already call them, "chidlren of pervets.".  

 

It is hilarious the city bans people from public and allows the executive branch to give hearings and waivers as if they are equipped to be fair and impartial or they can make the claim that it is not a total ban.

 

Matt (the author of this article) ONLY uses that registry to call people names in order to strip their humanity so as to clear the way for the ultimate stripping of civil rights and that is making normal conduct criminal conduct.

 

The way is to have HEARINGS in front of a judge.  But that would require fairness.  You have a, "perv ban."  You think any one is going to be fair when you can continue with name calling decades after even the most innocuous crimes.?

 

You don't need proof of public safety.  You don't need to have hearings.  You only need a list and a theory to ban.  The law is supposed to be bullet proof Constitutionally.  You all should be very worried.  They are out to protect kids and they have a list and a bunch of theories and no need to hear from anyone.  

 

Keep up with the dry wit Matt.  There ARE people on that list that are not perverts.  You don't care, I know.  Why, in America would anyone care about injustice?

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

 @theconstitutionrox Just an fyi, "bulletproof" was my paraphrasing of the situation; I've since changed the language to more accurately reflect what those officials say about the laws.

halonczar
halonczar

 @mcoker   LOL the messenger respectfully requests he NOT be shot on sight!   Well Matt, you did decide to use biased and colorful language by referring to registrants as "known perverts."  Legally and technically this is carried out against those convicted of a registerable offense under penal code section 290.  I think you would be surprised at the scope, deep and wide, as to what constitutes a "registerable" offense, Plus, these are new laws being imposed upon countless people whose crimes were committed decades ago and who have had no further run-ins with law enforcement.  We as a society are defining them as a person for the rest of their lives based on many times a single shameful, embarrassing moment.  They could go on to find a cure for cancer but they are still just perverts. There ARE people on that list we need to be genuinely concerned about. The problem is there is no judicial process or assessment tool implemented to allow us to determine between the two.  

 

The basis for these ordinances being 'constitutionally sound' is because they have simply never been challenged.  Well, we're finding now that they are not so sound.  Residency restrictions from Jessica's Law have been overturned in the appeals courts. A halloween ordinance is being challenged in Ventura County and because it is being equally imposed against family members and not just the registrant, it will be overturned.  These laws are being overturned in other states as well.  As for the OC park ban, Mr. T-Rack and Mr. Nelson thought they were being clever by incorporating a due process "permission slip" process which is automatically denied by the sheriff.  Courts are going to see this as an insult upon their intelligence. 

Rudy101
Rudy101

 @mcoker It is a ban on perverts, right?  Who could be against a ban on perverts?  It would be utterly ridiculous to allow perverts access to parks.  They are PERVERTS!

 

Well, a few of them aren't, and the children of those listed certainly aren't.  

 

Don't worry!  it is a lock that California is going to ban the pervs from the internet!  Proposition 35 can't lose.   

 

It is complete and total isolation for those pervs and anyone who is unfortanate to be in that person's circle of friends or family.  

 

You got them out of the neighborhoods (many on the streets), you now got them so they can't show themselves in public, and next year at this time it will become a "crime" to have an unregistered email address, that if given to the State will be the basis of removal from any and/or all sites and forums.  

 

They won't exist, and if they do exist, it will be a crime.  You have achieved the goal.

 

Except it was all done by and through the legislative vote and applied ex-post facto and applied even decades after a sentence and is applied to whole hosts of behavior from heinous to innocuous.

 

You'll probably get it all by the courts,  THEN you can start (as many already are) getting the NEXT group to disappear. 

 

I know!  I am being melodramatic stating that it is a "crime" to exist.  But we know there are LOTS more ways to criminalize behavior and that those laws are coming in the years ahead.

 

Yes, a "perv ban" PERFECT!

 

 

bobbyowings
bobbyowings

 @mcoker  @halonczar

 It is a pilot program...next...registered protesters...registered anti-war dissidents..and an opening to pile on ex post facto punishments

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

 @halonczar  @mcoker Lots of good detail and points raised here, halonczar. We're probably pretty close to the same mind on this issue.

halonczar
halonczar

 @mcoker Matt, I realize you'd just as soon write this topic off but I hope you'll follow where I'm going with this... it's easy to dismiss everyone who has been "tagged" as a sex registrant as a "perv' and while the name calling is aptly deserved categorically there's a broad spectrum of things that will land someone on that list.  This isn't to mitigate what they've done, they deserve to be punished, and then afterward they should be assessed as to the risk they pose to the public.  95% of them never re-offend but there is no mechanism or assessment process to weed out that 5% who pose the true danger.  You know the approach the D.A. is using.  Since you took the time to post an article about this, I ask that you take a moment and watch the video footage of the Anaheim City Council Meeting on October 9th, specifically what Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said to the City Council.  Also understand that I recognize we need to keep kids safe.  If you look at what the City of Tustin has done with respect to sex offenders in parks, this is a much better approach but it doesn't go far enough.  Remember, sex abuse prevention is the goal.  With that in mind, 90% of sex crimes are committed by someone who is NOT a registered sex offender. So, if we are looking at realistic community solutions Tustin has the right idea but they need to expand their anti-loitering aspect to apply to ALL citizens.  If you have heard D.A. Rauckaukas and Erin Runion speak they will point out that someone can be suspciously taking pictures of your kids in the park and if someone calls the police there is nothing they can do. The problem is that they are seeing the trees but not the forest.  A model like Tustin's anti-loitering ordinance, expanded to apply to EVERYONE, would give law enforcement the ability to deal with this problem.  It would violate no one's rights, and could put a stop to perverted behaviors in parks whether someone is a registrant or not.  Again, if prevention is the key then you can see the value of this. If additional punishment is the key, well then eventually you're just going to see sex offenders, perverts and pedophiles go off the radar where they can't be monitored at all.

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