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Judge Rules San Diego Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Unreasonable

It is "unreasonable" and "oppressive" to forbid registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, a California appeals court ruled.

California voters adopted Proposition 83, also known as Jessica's Law, in 2006 to impose strict regulations on registered sex offenders.

One provision in particular prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park.

In 2010, the California Supreme Court ruled that the housing restriction applies to all paroled sex offenders, regardless of when they committed their crime, but the court said it did not have enough evidence to rule on law's constitutionality.

Following this ruling, William Taylor, Jeffrey Glynn, Julie Briley and Stephen Todd, all registered sex offenders living in San Diego County, challenged the residency restriction in Superior Court.

All four parolees were unable to find housing after their release: Taylor and Briley lived in an alley behind the parole office on the advice of their parole agents, Todd lived in the San Diego riverbed with other registered sex offenders who had no place to live, and Glynn lived in his van.

In 2011, Judge Michael Wellington held an eight-day evidentiary hearing in which experts testified that 24.5 percent of San Diego residential properties comply with the Jessica's Law residency requirement, but most of these dwellings are single-family homes. Less than 3 percent of multifamily housing meets the requirement.

Wellington subsequently ruled that the parole condition was "unconstitutionally 'unreasonable'" because it "violated petitioners' right to intrastate travel, their right to establish a home and their right to privacy and was not narrowly drawn and specifically tailored to the individual circumstances of each sex offender parolee."

California's Fourth Appellate District affirmed Tuesday, finding that the law's "blanket enforcement as a parole condition in San Diego County has been unreasonable and constitutes arbitrary and oppressive official action."

San Diego's housing market for registered sex offenders is "grim," according to the ruling.

"Given the county's low vacancy rate, the petitioners' general inability to pay more than $850 to $1,000 per month for rent, and the unwillingness of many landlords to rent to petitioners with their criminal histories, significantly less than three percent of the county's multifamily residences are realistically available to registered sex offender parolees in the county," Justice Patricia Benke wrote for a three-member panel. "There are so few legal housing options in urban areas in the county that many offenders face the choice of living in rural areas or becoming homeless."

The panel also noted how the residency restriction limits parolees' access to rehabilitative and medical treatment services, which "are generally located in the densely populated areas of the county."

"Relegated to rural areas of the county, petitioners are cut off from access to employment, public transportation and medical care," Benke wrote.

"We find the blanket residency restriction, as applied in San Diego County, excessive and unduly broad in relation to its purpose - namely, to establish predator free zones around schools and parks where children gather," she concluded. "The statute limits the housing choices of all sex offenders identically, without regard to the type of victim or the risk of reoffending."

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Avatar for user 'yellowroselady'

yellowroselady | September 17, 2012 at 11:38 a.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

I read a story just a couple of days ago where a guy in New York was arrested 'again' for failure to register a 'new' address. Ironically, he was living in a storage unit. If he had reported that he lived there would that have been enough to stop local law enforcement and the U.S.Marshals from reacting as they did? NO! Why? Because they can!!!

This article, like many others, indicates there are very few options and while the lawmakers think they are 'doing the right thing' with these laws and restrictions they are wrong! Many studies as well as noted psychologist have reported these knee-jerk laws do nothing to protect one child.

This brings to mind a phrase I heard at a symposium in New York last year....."When you are a hammer....everything looks like a nail....

Let's lay the hammer down and work toward the safety and well being of all so that we can become a society that other nations look up to instead of ridicule when it comes to sexual offense laws and residency restrictions.

Vicki Henry
Women Against Registry dot com

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Avatar for user 'bar88'

bar88 | September 17, 2012 at 11:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

What a glorious day that one judge can finally see through the hate, fear, avarice and hysteria of our media, political system and vocal minority. The registry and its ancillary legislation such as ESTOP and every other "operation (insert name here)" which has been borne in counties, cities and towns across the nation will finally begin to crumble like the Berlin Wall. Tax payers will save many hundreds of millions of dollars per year BUT, don't let the politicians continue to create Draconian prison sentences. Instead, we need to focus on prevention, education and cost effective treatment rather than confinement, incarceration and social-service sapping alienation through ostracization, abandonment and social death. A new age of enlightenment is dawning but will we allow it to come sooner or later?

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Avatar for user 'Edie3Billings_'

Edie3Billings_ | September 17, 2012 at 12:37 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Kudos and Hurrah. It's about time reason and sensibility prevailed in this judgement.

For the last few years, panic and hysteria caused lawmakers and legislature to make rulings that were based on fear instead of facts.The way it stands now, the sex-offender registry is an ill conceived system that has gone awry and does more harm than good.

Let's hope that more judges and panels become aware of this and help make changes that benefit everyone based on facts, not fear mongering.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 17, 2012 at 1:58 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, like when they forced registered sex offenders in N.O. to check in even in the chaotic Katrina aftermath.

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Avatar for user 'jesusislord'

jesusislord | September 17, 2012 at 4:52 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

jesus said in his word that if people repented(truly sorry for their sins , ,IF YOU ARE SAVED he will forgive , and it also says that whom THE SON sets free is free indeed and no condemnation to those whom have been set free and living for him . people say people cant change but GOD WORD SAYS PEOPLE CAN , AND IF THEY ARE DOING RIGHT IN THE world ,paying their fees going to probation and no problems they should be able to do as they wish long as they are abiding and not doing wrong. the drunkards can be forgiven even a murderer can be forgiven and have a sec chance but everyone has to condemn these people and make them out cast . people need to provide counceling and rehabilatation measures and let people have a sec chance not restrict their lives forever . once you are on registry it not only affects the person but their families too . the children get bullied . and cant have friends , dont get to have their father part their lives . depression. they can be unsocialized and even commit suicide because this sex registry law stuff . all normal everyday living is taken away not only from the father but the whole families too . the whole sex registry needs to be taken down is my opinion and give people evaluations and if they are abiding they need to be taken off the registry and be able to live normal family life. the past has been forgiven why cant people learn to forgive and give people sec chances. ? btw i have been sex abused in my life but by the grace of GOD and his love and what hes done for me i learned to forgive my abusers and pray for them .i pray for all people to be set free and that the govt will one day take down sex registry laws .imagine over 2,000,000,000 people speaking up on this, what impact it will do and how many people can have a sec chance and live normal lives .with their families ..i am very glad that cali changed their laws and allowing people to live where they are able to with none the 2000 feet restriction , may be they whom are being punished will be able to have some normal life to live and change for the better . people are not animals and this is not supposed to be a nazi world . its supposed to be freedom and being able to have sec chances to make a diff and give back to society , they cant do it with all theses restrictions. .i thank GOD that one day JESUS is coming back and he will gather the true body of CHRIST and there will be a new life a beautiful heaven to look forward to and the chains of sorrow pain , and condemmation of past life will not be no more . all tears sorrow pain sickness , will be gone forever . for those of you whom are hurting by all these unconstitutional laws . retroactive laws . they continue to pass . the families whom only want their hubs and fathers to be able to live normal .look up for redemption draws nigh . this former life will be no more but new life with JESUS forever will be .ill be praying for us all .

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 17, 2012 at 6:05 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Too little, hopefully not too late.

For over a decade now, hysteria and emotion over rare high profile crimes have shaped sex offender laws in the absence of facts and rationality.

The sex offender registry in California is too broad and it treats minor offenders the same as it does serial rapists and molesters - ALL have to stay on for LIFE.

This ties in to the overall complaints I have regarding our justice system and the direction it's been headed.

We have seen an increasing shift in power being taken away from judges and being given to legislatures who pass sweeping laws more for political points than for efficacy of law.

The problem is that a fair justice system is one in which a person is tried and punished based on the specifics of their particular crime.

We have moved away from individualized justice and towars a "one size fits all" approach where judges are more like glorified admins simply doing what thy are told by the politicians instead of evaluating the mitigating and aggravating circumstances that can significantly affect a decision.

Why not let judges - those most intimately involved in the cases - determine which sex offenders need to be on a lifetime lifetime registry and those no don't?

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Avatar for user 'buchanan'

buchanan | September 18, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for writing on this important issue. The cities and counties across the state are passing ordinances prohibiting registraints from going to libraries, movie houses, churches, and most city/ county owned properties.

I attended such a meeting in Lancaster last week. The Vice-Mayor informed me that he could have "his deputies" arrest my husband ( of 40 years) since we started dating when I was 17. It's absurd.

When someone is accused of a sexual offense, it does not mean that they raped someone or ever touched a child. Many, many different circumstances can land you on this "hit list".

Many of these cases have more to do with "money", "votes", "creating jobs". The paid lobbyists for the Global Systems (ankle braclets) and their stock holders.

We have endured some horrible crimes in our communites. We can not make sense of them. But, to punish thousands for the crimes of a few is wrong. Punishments should fit the crime, if really a crime has occured.

No two cases are alike, and the cases have different outcomes depending on so many factosr like where you lived, what county the case was heard in, the court in which it was heard, what type of attorney you had, and on and on.

I remember seeing a news report while our ex-govenor was leaving office. It reported that he had sex with a 16 year old while in his late twenties. And I have never seen him on our registry. The story must have been buried, since it was never reported again.
We know of many famous people who committed these same acts, but our nation still worships them. Why are they any different?

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Avatar for user 'notinterested'

notinterested | October 23, 2012 at 10:07 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

I have read several comments and I want to know what those of you who feel the sex offender laws do not work would you propose??? I have listened to multiple stories this year alone where childern are being grabbed in broad daylight small towns and cities. No where is safe any more and many times they find in the end that the perpetrator had previous offenses. I have been a victim of child rape. I am sure my dad wishes that jerk had been on some list somewhere so I would not have been in his path. Something needs to be done to protect the victims or would be victims. YES there is fear involved. I do not want my child to end up in a dumpster or dismembered. ANd I do not want my child to go through what I went through. I have little to no sympathy if an offender is homeless or out of work. Is my offender going to repair the damage done to me and my family? Is he going to give my back my childhood that he stole from me? Obviously many of you have no comprehension of what these crimes do to entire families for the rest of their lives. Why should any of us care? If a man or a woman commits a crime against a child or an adult they have given up their right to a normal life. They did not care that they have robbed their victim and their families of a normal life. I will aknowledge one point. If the sex is consensual and the child is in high school that is not an act of a predator. and should not be included. the age of consent is different in each state so that is even more unfair. in the state of kanas is 16 in missouri it is 17 and in florida 18 in alabama it is 16. There needs to be a way to track those who are truely a danger to others.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 23, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

notinterested, you make some good points and I especially agree with your last few sentences regarding "statutory rape" type crimes, they need to be removed from the same registry as serial rapists and child molesters.

California does not do a very good job of separating out people who are higher risk and lower risk and casts a wide net enveloping everyone.

The one thing I do want to point out - when you say "little sympathy for an offender who is homeless or out of work".

It's not about sympathy, it's about public safety and statistics that show sex offenders are easier to monitor and less likely to re-offend if they have a permanent address and are employed.

Of course I say this with the assumption that the offender has been in prison for a time suitable to the specifics of their crime and then on mandatory therapy once released on parole.

As a society we can't just lock up all sex offenders for life, so the reality is these people will be re-entering society.

I think it's in the best interest of society to allow these people to re-enter and be given the tools to become successful and rehabilitated, instead of setting them up for failure to start with so the cycle of crimes will continue.

I in no way mean to demean any of the victims, and of course the worst of the worse who are repeat offenders or who kill like Mr. Gardner should spend their lives behind bars.

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Avatar for user 'partlycloudy'

partlycloudy | November 10, 2012 at 3:59 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you not interested. I ditto everything. I have a history of being attacked at 3.
My daughter also was a victim (as an adult)
I have worked with homeless women and children, all with history of predators.
My life went on the skids at 3, I have been severely physically damaged and unable to hold regular jobs. I'm sorry, I don't think the victims need protecting, I have fought for crime victims and victims of discrimination my whole life.
Everything I have ever been taught about sexual predators is they will continue because it is a disease that no one know how to treat. Perhaps we should be addressing that issue. I speak for people who don't want victims as neighbors because they are so damaged. No one is a NIMBY until it happens to them.

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