Today we are conducting hand-to-hand combat with cities throughout the state of California in order to challenge their residency restrictions. There are more than 100 cities that have such restrictions and thusfar we have filed nine lawsuits.
The series of lawsuits began last year when we challenged residency restriction in the City of Grover Beach that prohibited registered citizens from moving into most of that small city. It also prohibited registered citizens already living in that city from moving into a new home within the same city…..including Frank Lindsay who was viciously attacked in his home by a stranger who vowed to kill him solely because Frank is on the registry.
We chose the City of Grover Beach as the first challenge because we testified there when the City considered whether to expand its residency restrictions from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. Despite our testimony as well as verification of the facts we presented by the city’s Chief of Police, the City Council agreed to the expansion.
It took a federal lawsuit to get the attention of the City of Grover Beach. Once that lawsuit was filed, however, the City Council corrected its mistake in 30 days by repealing not just the expansion it had approved, but all of the residency restrictions in that city.
Not all of the cities we have sued have been as smart as Grover Beach. In fact, the dumbest city we have sued so far is the City of Murrieta. Not only did the City of Murrieta fail to repeal its residency restrictions, it filed an unsuccessful motion to dismiss the case just a few months later.
In addition, the City of Murrieta is the only city known to have enforced its residency restrictions following a California Supreme Court case that declared similar restrictions to be unconstitutional in some circumstances. The City, in fact, enforced its restrictions only 10 days ago after a registrant moved in with his sister, a move approved by the CA Department of Corrections under an interstate compact.
In its decision to enforce its residency restrictions, the City of Murrieta did not take into account that the registrant has a low risk of re-offense (Static-99 score of 0), is destitute and has significant health conditions that require in-home care. The City of Murrieta did not take into account that the registrant’s sister is the only person willing and able to care for him and that if he is not allowed to live with her, he will be homeless and possibly die on the streets of Murrieta.
What will it take for the cities of California to abide by the Constitution? Will it take 100 lawsuits? Will it take registrants dying on their streets?
Please stay tuned for the answer as we continue to file lawsuits as well as an application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that prevents the City of Murrieta from evicting a registered citizen from his sister’s home.
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