Hugo Godinez, Registered Sex Offender, is Unlikely "Star" of Constitutional Challenges

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When Hugo Godinez was ordered to register as a sex offender with the Costa Mesa Police Department at his sentencing for a 2010 misdemeanor sexual battery conviction, the Santa Ana resident could not have foreseen his future in shaping California law.

The latest ripple came Wednesday when the Orange County District Attorney's office filed a petition in hopes the state Supreme Court will uphold ordinances banning sex offenders from municipal parks and recreational facilities.

OC District Attorney Called "Foolish" to Take Pervs-in-Parks Ban Case to Supreme Court

"The people of the state of California respectfully petition this court to grant review of an important issue affecting every city and county in California," Deputy District Attorney Brian Fitzpatrick wrote in his petition to the state Supremes. "Cities and counties need to know whether they can act to protect children within their communities from the approximately 75,000 sex offenders living in the state."

The state's high court can either reject the petition, letting appellate court rulings stand that have found pervs-in-parks bans unconstitutional, or set up another round of appeals before the justices.

Scott VanCamp, an attorney with the Orange County Public Defender's Office, argued the case based on Godinez's conviction for violating the county ordinance that was before the appellate court.

"I expected this would happen, but I'm hopeful the California Supreme Court will not take the case because I think the opinion from the appellate court is very well reasoned and very clear and easy to understand," VanCamp told City News Service.

Pervs-and-parks fever swept through Orange County after Supervisor Shawn Nelson and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas crafted the original county ordinance that was adopted in April 2011. The pair, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and other law enforcement representatives then went city to city in Orange County to lobby for local versions of the law.

More than a dozen OC cities passed similar ordinances, which require registered sex offenders to stay out of local parks and recreational areas unless they get permission first from the law enforcement agency that patrols that municipality. In the case of Hutchens' agency, such permission has been difficult to obtain. Irvine and Fountain Valley, anticipating the legal challenges ahead, only applied their ordinances to registered sex offenders who had been convicted of preying on children.

If caught in these so-called Child Safety Zones without permission, the sex offender risked a fine or jail time. That's what happened to Godinez on May 5, 2011, when he attended what he claimed to be a "mandatory" company Cinco de Mayo party at Mile Square Regional Park, a county facility in Fountain Valley.

Godinez was later sentenced to 100 days in jail and five years of probation for violating the county ordinance, but a panel of Superior Court judges sought a review from the state's 4th District Court of Appeals. The appellate court overturned the Godinez conviction on grounds the county law is unconstitutional because the state already has laws on the books dealing with registered sex offenders.



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2 comments
mmdfaca
mmdfaca

Sex offenders are exploited in the workplace, where they live and by the very counselors they are order to receive "therapy" from.The reaction to any of these stories is emotional, not rational.  The sex offender registry does not help society, it harms society, and the ex-offender trying to find work and housing.  The more stable the ex-offender's life, the better off society is.  It is the instability in anyone's life that causes issues that can quickly escalate to a crime, depending on you genetic makeup, social perceptions and subsequent thinking patterns.  Alcohol is almost always involved and it is never treated as the root of the problem.  Putting someone in jail without treatment, simply forestalls the inevitable.  Even though sex offender recidivism is relatively low at 5.3%, successfully dealing with any substance abuse issues halves that 5.3% to under 3%.  Shaming and ridiculing an ex-offender for the rest of their life, after the sentence has been served is putting society at a higher risk because of the consequences of the ex-offenders being homeless and unemployed.  Much better to have these people working and residing inside during off hours than to have them crawling out of a bush at 5 am. behind you at a bus stop.  Unemployment triggers relapse in addictive personalities.  Not good for society either.  It is time to respond to this growing problem over 800,000 now in the U.S.) in a positive manner that makes society safer in a very practical way.  As long as there is a public website that berates these people and publishes their pictures, society is working against itself, not to mention that 95% of the time and money spent by law enforcement "monitoring or watching those on the list" is a waste of time; an actual crime is happening elsewhere.

RodTemple
RodTemple

Isn't it amazing that the criminals Tony Rackauckas, Shawn Nelson, Sandra Hutchens, and the rest of them didn't have enough sense to make their parks, etc. bans cover all people who have committed crimes against other people? Isn't it amazing that they didn't have enough sense to make it cover even people who have committed crimes in parks, etc.? It doesn't even cover people who have shot people in parks, etc.!!!!! Isn't it very disturbing that these people "in charge" of these types of things are that stupid?!


So we should all CLEARLY understand that their illegal ban was never actually for protecting anyone. In that sense, it is just like the Sex Offender Registries themselves - the REAL reason they exist has nothing to do with "public safety", "protecting children", or any of those other lies. The REAL reason is so that criminals like Tony Rackauckas, Shawn Nelson, Sandra Hutchens, and the rest can get their jollies. And of course, it is good for their jobs. See how much we need people like them to protect us? We really do need big government. And we can never have enough laws.


The criminal regimes that passed these bans should be sued constantly to extract compensatory damages from them and huge punitive damages. The only good big government is a broke big government. The less resources they have, the less able they are to commit crimes.

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