Both Sides Ready to Debate Orange County's Pervs-in-Parks Ban Before Appeals Court
An opening brief from the public defender's office is due at the Santa Ana-based appellate court on Jan. 17.
"If justice is to be served, the Court of Appeals will uphold the decision made by the three-judge panel of the Orange County Superior Court because the ordinance on its face violates both the state and federal constitutions," says Janice Bellucci, president of California's Reform Sex Offender Laws, in a statement. "The ordinance also does not increase public safety because more than 90 percent of the individuals who sexually assault children are family members, teachers, coaches, and clergy, not registered sex offenders."
Bellucci, a Santa Maria attorney, pointed to an October California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation report that concluded the recidivism rate for registered sex offenders is 1.9 percent.
Registered Sex Offenders Unite: Group Seeking Legislative Reform to Meet at Buena Park Church
Written by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and county Supervisor Shawn Nelson, the Board of Supervisors adopted the so-called Child Safety Zone ordinance in April 2011. Rackauckas, Nelson, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, the DA's Chief of Staff Susan Kang Shroeder and other officials then toured Orange County cities recommending their city councils adopt similar laws. Several did just that--and some got dragged into court to defend them.
Federal Lawsuit Challenges Sex Offender Bans in Parks of Four Orange County Cities
Due to fears about the rising legal tab to fight for its ordinance, the city of Lake Forest just killed its law.
Lake Forest Scraps Pervs-in-Parks Ban
The Superior Court panel declared the county's ordinance unlawful on Nov. 15. It is Rackauckas' contention that the decision only applied to Hugo Godinez, the plaintiff who challenged the ordinance after he became the first registrant arrested when he attended a company Cinco de Mayo party in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley.
Orange County Pervs-in-Parks Ban Violates State Constitution: Judicial Panel
But following the panel's decision and the dismissal of a sex offender's arrest in Irvine, OC Public Defender Scott M. Van Camp maintains all county and city Child Safety Zone ordinances have been deemed unconstitutional. The sheriff's department has indicated it is no longer enforcing the law given the legal limbo.
Perv-in-Park Case Dismissed Against Jean Pierre Nguyen
|Courtesy of OCDA|
|Hugo Godinez at his booking last year.|
Schroeder, the DA's chief of staff, previously told the Weekly the decision by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court regarding the Godinez case and the county ordinance is part of the normal process of shaping laws in California and that her boss Rackauckas "always viewed this as a long-term battle to protect children from sex offenders, which is part of our duties."
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