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April 7, 2011

"Orange County bans sex offenders from some parks, beaches"

The title of this post is the headline of this effective Los Angeles Times article reporting on the latest extreme local sex offender restriction.  Here are the details:

Orange County supervisors have approved a law significantly restricting the movements of registered sex offenders, banning them from entering some beaches, parks and harbor areas.  Under the rules, sex offenders who visit any of dozens of public spaces without prior approval from county officials face up to six months in jail or a $500 fine. The ban covers some of the region's top attractions including the Orange County Zoo, Irvine Regional Park, Newport Harbor and Dana Point Harbor.

The law, approved unanimously by the board Tuesday, is the latest in a controversial series of ordinances across the country aimed at limiting where sex offenders can live and visit.  It was championed by Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, who said the idea was to keep sex offenders away from children and families.  "We are setting up a safety zone by keeping parks and recreation zones safe from predators," Rackauckas said.

But critics immediately expressed skepticism about the law, saying it would be difficult to enforce and appeared politically motivated.  Franklin Zimring, a UC Berkeley law professor, said the law was overly broad and misdirected, because more than nine out of 10 sex crimes targeting children are committed not by strangers in a park, but by family members or acquaintances....

Orange County's ordinance appears to be the first legal move in California imposing across-the-board restrictions on where sex offenders can be.  Los Angeles County in 2009 passed legislation banning registered sex offenders from "loitering" within 300 feet of "child safety zones," which include schools, public libraries and parks.  Existing state law also prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park in California.

Illinois passed a law last year making it a misdemeanor for sex offenders to be in or within 500 feet of a public park, and a South Carolina lawmaker introduced similar legislation after a 17-year-old was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender at a park on the other side of the country, in San Diego County.

At the board meeting Tuesday, some supervisors asked exactly how the new law would be enforced. Rackauckas and Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Adam Powell said only that it would be enforced on a "case by case" basis.  One supervisor, John M.W. Moorlach, also raised concerns about whether the ordinance would infringe on constitutional rights and end up forcing the county to spend more money defending the rules in court.

A bill in the California Legislature last year initially included a provision banning all sex offenders from parks where children regularly gather. But lawmakers ultimately limited the language to parolees whose victims had been under age 14. The change made the ban more enforceable because these parolees are required to wear GPS devices.

Constitutional litigation over this new Orange County law seems inevitable, and it should be quite interesting to see how local, state and federal courts sort through the wide range of dynamic constitutional issues that potential facial and as-applied challenges to this law could implicate.

April 7, 2011 at 09:38 AM | Permalink


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The majority of offenders meet their victims in their homes. So this is more silly lawyer paper shuffling. It is in those public places that people would be most careful about talking or going with strangers. If anyone has walked through a local mall on a warm day, young people in skimpy clothing will drive offenders around the bend, same for anywhere where crowds can be found. How about church on Sunday, the local McDonalds after a Little League game

Again, all rule making should be pilot tested in small jurisdictions and proven safe, effective, and free from unintended consequences. These are ghoulish human experiments without consent of the subjects. Does this rule reduce the number of victims of sexual abuse? One measure has proven safe, effective, and reliable across studies done in several countries at different times, the legalization of child porn. The Draconian laws have driven the prices up, and are the cause of increase child abuse by East European criminal syndicates producing more child porn, and subjecting little kids to more sexual trauma. The rationale for laws against child porn, is its funding suborns child sexual abuse. The real cause is the law against child porn. Ironic but not surprising effect from the lawyer dumbass.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 7, 2011 4:23:49 PM

I was actually at the previous meeting, where I brought out several Constitutional violations that was being intended. I testified to the Supervisors that the proposed ordinance violated the tenets several amendments, including the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, tenth, and fourteenth amendments, along with the ex post facto and commerce clauses of the US Constitution, as well as the corresponding items in the California Constitution. I predicted, quite accurately I believe, that this law will be taken down. (Link to report on previous meeting: http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2011/03/21/law-would-ban-sex-offenders-from-county-parks/50283/).

Now it looks as if one of the supervisors has his own critiques (though he voted for the ordinance). We shall see what happens, but I predict a serious watering down of this bill before implementation, if that.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Apr 7, 2011 7:54:18 PM

I'm curious Eric. When you brought up your objections, could you give us all a sense of the reactions both vocalized and in terms of facial expressions/body language.

All to often an official record is given where both the agreements and objections are sterilized before they can be put in a press release. The actual atmosphere of the situation is often lost and I find that to be an important missing piece to the puzzle.

Posted by: Questions Authority | Apr 7, 2011 9:06:35 PM

Questions Authority, let me make an educated guess.

Eric: This proposed law violates several Constitutional amendments.

Board: Herp de derp sex offenders herp de derp but we need to protect our children! Vote yes if you love America. Anyone who votes no is a pederast!

Posted by: NickS | Apr 8, 2011 7:50:17 AM


They didn't respond to me, but only one supervisor at the initial meeting, Moorlach, was concerned about the potential constitutional violations. Now, going in I knew damn well they were going to pass the resolution in two weeks, no matter what I said. BUT...I wanted it on record that this ordinance was not going unnoticed by various legal entities around the country.

In addition, I believe that the park ban was just the FIRST ordinance they were planning. I believe that the originator of this bill, Nelson, wanted to next put out a 2000 foot restriction. So my appearance before this board was directed more to (hopefully) preventing more draconian ordinances down the road, and more to the point: Going on record first about the illegality and unconstitutionality of the bans, at least in California.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Apr 8, 2011 10:00:31 PM

I could already see that proponents of this ordinance will argue along similar lines of registration, because essentially this is just another form of registration without calling it as such. And because the political savvy cowards who sit on bench have time and time again upheld registration for life as constitutional, this ordinance is just a fruit of the court's failure to rule based on well established, scientifically proven facts on recidivism.

Posted by: GilbertsHumptyDumpty | Apr 8, 2011 10:29:34 PM

personally i think each and every individual in this country has under our constitution the legal and moral right since these little nazi wannabees are depriving them of the opportunity of "life, libety and the persuit of happiness" to remove each and every one of the politicans who voted for it and the law enforcment personnel dumb enough to try and enforce it!

sorry the u.s itself killed for all time the excuse "i was just following orders" You follow an order that you know or SHOULD HAVE know was illegal and you get the same punishment the idiot who gave it receives.

dont' belive me. just ask the ex officers and politicans of nazi germany after the war. OH WAIT you cant' THEIR DEAD!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 10, 2011 2:16:20 AM

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Posted by: Big pony | Apr 11, 2011 6:06:29 AM

Similar bans against drug offenders entering certain parts of a city were struck down in Ohio. Despite being a temporary ban (where this is a permanent ban), it was struck for violating rights to peaceably assemble or travel.

State v. Burnett (2001) 93 Ohio St. 3d 219

Johnson et al. v. City of Cincinnati, 2002 FED App.
0332P (6th Cir.), cert. denied, US Supreme Court case no. 02-1452.

Posted by: oncefallendotcom | Apr 15, 2011 1:16:21 PM

more pandering to the fearful masses. these supervisors are using the same techniques as the nazis and now the republican party the big lie in conjunction with fear. we have destroyed our constitution with the 3 strikes law, forced banishment of sex offenders all because it sells. i remind you of the phrase spoken periodically on the simpsons "what about the children?" a slight to those that use the save one or the innocent at the loss of all, or the the phrase "throwing the baby out with the bath water".

Posted by: on parole i know the b.s. | Apr 20, 2011 3:00:37 PM

they should banned sex offenders to all over the world.

Posted by: marietta dui attorney | May 9, 2011 3:13:41 AM

Here Lies the problem. Children in parks run, jump around, do silly things (they're kids for Pete's Sake!) and often they get hurt. If a Registered person (parent) is disallowed in parks with their child as their first line of safety it violates both the parent and child's rights! If their child gets hurt the city may then be liable for that child's lack of parental supervision. Why? Because it's the parent's RIGHT of CHOICE to be with their child. If they CHOOSE wrong then sadly it's their burden. If the City or County (by virtue of ordinance) takes that God given RIGHT of CHOICE from that parent then it becomes the City or County's burden! This is a very slippery slope. I haven't see any of these cities address this issue from that perspective. The Constitutionally of these ordinances at best is very shaky, but from the parental rights perspective? IT's plain WRONG!

Posted by: Robert C. | Dec 2, 2011 2:14:40 AM

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