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Appeals Court: California State Law Trumps Orange County Offender Rules

LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court ruled Friday that state law trumps Orange County regulations banning sex offenders from parks and beaches, dealing a serious setback to some of the strictest sex-offender rules in the state.

The decision comes after a county court in 2012 overturned the conviction of a sex offender for going to a park and asked the 4th District Court of Appeal to rule on the case and the legality of the regulations, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Sheriff's Department had already stopped enforcing the law in response.

The registered sex offender, Hugo Godinez, was convicted of a misdemeanor for going to a company picnic at a Fountain Valley park in 2012. He had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery two years earlier to earn the sex offender status.

Orange County's restrictions passed in 2011 barred offenders from parks and beaches unless they got written permission from the sheriff.

The appeals judges on Friday found that the rule amounted to a "de facto registration requirement" and conflicts with laws passed by the state which already provide a "comprehensive statutory scheme regulating the daily life of sex offenders."

A phone message left with the district attorney's office after business hours by The Associated Press was not immediately returned, but the DA's Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder told City News Service the county may appeal further.

"We're going to review our options requesting the Supreme Court of California to review this case," Schroeder said. "We believe in this war in protecting children against sex offenders that the state never intended to pre-empt every law keeping sex offenders out of parks."

On the urging of the district attorney, several cities passed similar measures, the Times reported. Many of them were also facing legal challenges and one, Lake Forest, has already repealed its rules.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 12, 2014 at 12:52 a.m. ― 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This story perfectly illustrates the problem with "sex offender" laws - they are too damn broad.

The subject of this lawsuit was convicted of a MISDEMEANOR.

And he's supposed to be banned from public parks for life by the outrageously right-wing hysterical Orange County District Attorneys office.

Hogwash.

This is a clear overreach and an abuse of power.

The vast majority of sexual crimes occur within families and amongst people known to the victim.

Strangers kidnapping, molesting, or raping people in a park is so rare yet the idiots here want to ban people convicted of misdemeanors from being allowed in parks.

Look up the woman quoted here, she herself parades around orange county with her breasts hanging out and was married to a man twice her age because he was wealthy and I'm sure she got a hefty settlement.

SHE'S more of a "sexual predator" than the people convicted of MISDEMEANORS whose lives she is trying to ruin.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | January 12, 2014 at 7:43 a.m. ― 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Have to agree with you there PDSD. There is a vast difference between a rapist and an 18 year old guy who has a picture of his 17 year old girlfriend on his phone. One size does not fit all.

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