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ACSOLCaliforniaGeneral News

CA: Federal Court Limits Residency Restrictions to Parolees

A federal district court ruled on Dec. 22 that residency restrictions adopted by cities and counties may only be applied to registrants while on parole.  

“This is a significant victory for registrants and their families,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “The Court’s decision dramatically reduces the ability of a city or a county to restrict where a registrant may live.”

According to the court’s decision, the general rule is that local governments are preempted by state law from adopting laws that restrict the daily lives of registrants because state law “fully occupies” the field of restrictions on a registrant’s daily life.  The decision also stated that although Jessica’s Law created an exception to that general rule, the exception is limited to registrants on parole due to the statutory context of that law. 

The court added that its decision is consistent with state court decisions which have determined that different provisions in Jessica’s Law are also limited to parolees.  The Dec. 22 decision is the first judicial determination regarding the authority granted to cities and counties by that law. 

In its decision, the court noted that the City of Adelanto conducted a public City Council Workshop during which the Mayor, City Attorney and Councilmembers made several derogatory comments regarding registrants including the following: sex offenders need to “get the heck out of town”, should be forced to relocate to a “leper colony”, and the City should hang “neon sign[s] in [the] windows” of registrants’ homes as well as “paint the street red in front of their house[s].” 

The court ruling is the result of a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by a registrant in the case which challenges residency restrictions in the City of Adelanto.  According to the lawsuit, registrants are prohibited from living in most of the city.  The case was filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California in December 2016. 

After the court’s Dec. 22 ruling, the case will continue in order to address claims that the city’s residency restrictions violate the 14th Amendment and the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Decision

Join the discussion

  1. New Person

    Great job, Janice, Chance, and team!

    I especially am encouraged that the courts have now included derogatory quotes from a City Council Workshop. This now runs concurrent with the thoughts of Colorado Judge Matsch of that people are making the registry cruel and unusual. Also on the same thought is Vermont Judge Hoar on residency restriction: “What the City has done here is effectively to declare an entire class of persons to be a public nuisance, by simple virtue of their physical existence,” Hoar wrote. “Plaintiffs have been convicted and punished; the City cannot now say to them, anymore than they could to any other citizen, ‘we don’t want your type in our town.’”

    Then factor in Justice Kennedy’s parenthetical in Peckingham about people continuing to serve such restrictions long after their custody – which is what VT Judge Hoar identified as well.

    Cruel and unusual. Yes. Involuntary servitude b/c the registry is not punishment. Yes. The registry is unconstitutional. Yes.

  2. David

    Hmmm, that attorney for plaintiff name seems familiar. 🤔
    Congratulations, Janice!! What an amazing ruling and what a fantastic Christmas gift from the federal court!
    (Am I correct to understand that all residency restrictions throughout California are now null and void [except for individuals still under cdcr supervision]? Is this effective immediately or will it not go into full effect until the court makes a final ruling on the additional claims?)

  3. David

    If I am understanding this correctly, this is a great victory!! ☺

  4. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    Congratulations Janice! It must feel good when you win uphill battles.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to both you and everyone else!

  5. TS

    Would love to see this applied to other areas nationally in cases and lawsuits. At least referenced or cited.

  6. D

    Janet or other legal minds, could this same ruling / theory he applied to any city ordinance with regard to RSOs not on parole? For instance many cities still have Halloween restrictions that require keeping the lights off and not handing out candy. If the state pc says that it is a “comprehensive system” and that the legislature “creates a standardized, statewide system to identify, assess, monitor and contain
    known sex offenders for the purpose of reducing the risk of recidivism posed by these offenders” then no city or county ordinance should be valid.

    • Lake County

      I don’t think any CA community has Halloween restriction for those off parole/probation any more. Janice already took care of that issue. Pretty much any added condition more restrictive than State law is prohibited or at least not enforced.

      • http404

        I don’t know if that’s true. Unless they were *quietly* repealed, the City of Orange and also Riverside (city? county?) still have Halloween ordinances on the books. The issue was not brought back into the courts, although Simi Valley repealed their ordinance under the very real prospect of being brought back to court – and losing.

      • D

        I also know the city of Cypress still has Halloween restrictions. Janice sued them over residency restrictions and they agreed not to enforce them, but it did not include the Halloween restrictions.

  7. Eric Knight

    I dug up the video link of the meeting, which was in audio, with only a sign about the meeting on the screen. As such, I didn’t bother identifying the individuals by sound, though for your edification I identified the time points of certain segments. This was not typed with any major literacy format, just slapsticked together, but got all the salient points. Enjoy!

    Video (actually, audio with no video) link of meeting: http://adelantoca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1066&Format=Minutes

    This is a rather rudimentary video, without the ability to easily move forward or back in 5 or 10 second segments, but if you maximize the window you can click the slider to within a few seconds of the time point.

    6:35 Start of Sex Offender segment

    11:35 city attorney mentions certain lawsuits, trying to make sense
    complains about attorney’s fees (“predatory attorneys”)

    20:30 Pocket Parks discussion where they were considering installing to keep out registrants

    23:30 “When did protecting children become an issue with cities? They are less important than the ‘sick individuals who mess with kids.'”
    Attorney paraphrasing: “I’m with you. I’m not in favor of helping the sex offenders. But if they are restricted, they are put in positions that make communities less safe.”
    Mayor then asserts most offender were abused as children, and would most likely offend again. Complains about lawmakers. COMPLETELY misses the damn point that the attorney just made!!

    The kicker at 25:05 :

    But it seems like their (registrants’) rights are more important than protecting our children, and at SOME point Sacramento (and) Washington needs to stand up for our children instead of saying, “Hey cities, if you protect our children, we’re just going to leave you open to get screwed over because we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do. I can’t blame you (city attorney), I can’t blame our law enforcement, it’s the lawmakers above them that are screwing it up. But it seems like we are talking over a moot point, because we can’t do anything, because noone’s gonna have our back when we go to say,

    *** Hey, you know what? Get the heck out of town, you know give them a leper colony in Apple Valley out there in all that open land, (unintelligible comment from peanut gallery) That would be perfect! They can have music, they can have a stage, everything. (Lots of guffaws)

    Some talk about group homes, about sex offenders moving in and then comes up with this gem:

    Half of these damn group homes that are running around this city don’t have a license. Someone rents a house to move a whole bunch of these f-”
    (pause to catch himself, after a moment, someone offers the word ‘people’) “…people, into these houses, and then next thing we know we have parents coming in here when they find out that someone is a sex offender is in there, and…

    *** here we go ***

    …I’m sorry, if a parent tells me that they’ve (ostensibly a registrant) done something with their kid, I’ll be the first one to pay to help them get out of jail (ostensibly because the parent attacked or killed the registrant for ostensibly attacking their kid) because I’m sick and tired of what the hell’s going on. Because all we are doing is sitting here telling these people (registrants) they have a mental health problem. They have all these rights. But the kids don’t have any rights. These kids are being destroyed. Families are being destroyed, but these guys have a right because they have a mental illness?

    At this point a bunch of gibberish, as the mayor and the city council try their damnedest to wordsmith a restriction in group homes, while the city attorney, commendably actually, returns with legal opinions that are sound, laying out the reasons for laws that have nothing to do with sex offender registry restrictions.

    Moving on to 34:40, a council member grouses about paying taxes for mental health services of sex offenders.

    35:10 One of the councilmembers “God, I wanna say something so bad…”

    Mayor “You (kicked?) me already, so…

    And now some semblance of reality by the local cop: “I understand the seriousness of it, I’m on board…but keep in mind that, I understand the heinous part of this (ha ha), but..

    *** …Keep in mind there are other crimes that are committed on a daily basis that do affect families like domestic violence, and drugs, robberies, homicides, that do repeat and cycle, due to family values and how they are brought up. Again, I’m on board with this, but there are other crimes as well. Where do we draw the line? If we do this, it’s gonna be litigious. It’s a very, very tight line.”

    3 full seconds of silence.

    A lot more pontificating. Law enforcement people seem to be the only adults in the room. Mayor reminisces about growing up, and how dangerous things are today, completly oblivious to the FACT he and his ilk make if MORE dangerous because of their constant beatdown of registrants based upon their status. Parents are angry because they have access to information, but that’s just it…it’s INFORMATION, and it’s NOT an invitation to feel scared feces-less.

    And to be blunt, Mayor. When kids played outside 30 years ago, their were JUST as many real sex offenders back then as now. Only difference is, they either weren’t arrested, or they were out of jail and living in the communtity but not registry to rile everyone up.

    Ok, back to the board of doofuses, another gem:

    41:42 “Can we put a neon sign in the window? Why not? (Laughter) How about just a hand written in crayon (sic)? ” followed by “Why not pave the street right in front of their house?” “Can we put little stars out in front of their curb?” “Will you give me a ticket if I do it?”

    Mayor then offers to print the registry and hand it to everyone, even offering to pay for it himself! Then he wants to have the registry website also printed in Spanish.

    Someone said that if they handed out all the notices, all the citizens would be screaming at city hall to do something. Then the mayor said, “Well, it’s our job to educate because that’s all we can do.

    Then after talking about education, the councilmember says at 44:00, “You KNOW what I would like to do (infering he wants to execute sex offenders on he registry), take care of the whole problem real quick here! You can’t do that…I don’t know WHY though!”

    Someone else: “I’d castrate them myself.”

    Someone else: “March them out back (inferring he wants to execute them in a firing squad, MS13 gang style).

    After someone mentioned that Frank Lindsay (plaintiff) sued Adelanto, the city council said, “Oh! We already have been through it, no big deal!”

    All the rigamarole ends with an “apology.”

    54:45 “I want to make it as difficult as possible (inferring to live in Adelanto as a private citizen) on any felon and sex offender.”

    That pretty much caps up the video.

    • David Kennerly, Not Fully Contained

      Oh, that was grim! What a bunch of idiots! I love how they start their PUBLIC meetings with a prayer followed up by the Pledge of Allegiance. One myth promulgated there was from the angry citizen-moron (or maybe he’s a Councilman?) who claimed that “these offenders” are like they are because they were abused in the same way. This is completely discredited theory.

    • kind of living

      @Eric Knight ,,,,, ,, I think its funny how tough these pansy a$$ councilmembers talk all this tough crap as they hide behind LE in their little circle jerk meetings , about killing RC’s , and all this crap (they want to do) but just don’t have the nut sack to just do it and get a taste of real prison time for their sick thinking , hell no it is always some ate up crack head , or another demented( So Called EX CON ) I say so called because these are the guys that loved doing time and hurting people on the inside , yet these councilmembers harbor the same fantasy as sick ass Convicts , convicts that that are in for drug charges or what ever , and the whole time given a free ticket in prison to be violent killers and rapist , and those convicts were on the life on the installment plan , but my main point here is that some LE , not all and a lot of these so called do Hero councilmembers are just as bad as any Bad Cons could ever be if aloud to act on their impulse , so thought crime they are good for at the very least , I say that they should pass a law that everyone pack a pistol or gun of choice , because its plain to see that many in LE really dont want to help us and many others for what ever reason , I still say one of the best things we could do is to open a huge commune and set it up to be safe to our own standers , grow produce since it so high in the stores now days , raise a little beef , bunch of chickens , and with all the talent in this community , you could open your own Biz , me I am a simple old farm boy , but I can feed a lot of people , and I have before , I just don’t have a head for management , some on here do , we could live safer and become much more active , I don’t know about you and yours , but me and my family would not only love it , but prosper lending a hand to all of our cause , the councilmember even said put us out on some middle of know where place , hell I look at that and say Really ? cool , enjoy our low cost vegies at your local market freak , and the high housing cost , maybe that DB will donate the land and put his money where his mouth is , city council members seem to be the welfare jobs as they don’t have anything more to talk about , other than RC’s as the Cop kind of touched on , like there are other crimes ! duh ,

    • Eric

      Thank you for posting, this is sickening.

  8. Counting the days

    I look at it this way. As more registrants can live in communities without fear of being removed, more in the community will know this person as a human being instead of an ” dangerous person”.

  9. steve

    That exchange is unbelievable. I hope that can be used to prove, as the Colorado judge has said, the registry is punishment by the public. Please let this comeback to bite them to help bring this down.

  10. Aero1

    Crazy how Megans law is falling apart I never thought I’d see it happen there really is hope out there don’t give up stand strong keep your head up. To all the people who have become homeless around the time of the peak of The sex offender Witch Hunt 2009 to 2015 you no longer have have to live like that I know it’s hard your going to need some tough skin but you can do it .Much love to everybody and Merry Christmas too Janice and the ACSOL thanks for all you guys do 🤣

  11. David

    I believe the Court’s “Decision” is the best thing I’ve read in all of 2017! 🤓

  12. Edie

    Will this apply to all CA parolees or only to those with offenses against minors??They have been differentiating that since the San Diego Supreme Court decision.

  13. Nicholas Maietta

    I hope this opens the doors to lawsuits against the counties by individuals who’s constitutional rights were violated. I want each person no matter their criminal conviction to be able to be compensated for the unjustified burdens and hardships this patchwork of vindictive laws have created.

    Just most of us on the registry have already paid for our crimes, it’s time the cities and counties also pay for theirs. Unfortunately it will come out of the taxpayers’ pockets, which might actually be a good thing. Maybe it will eventually lead to the people standing up against unconstitutional laws. The public is already seeing how stupid the registry really is.

  14. DRay

    The city of Rialto still has Halloween restrictions to all registrants, no lights no handing out candy do not open the door etc. I just signed my papers and they made me sign a copy of the ordinance in November. I hope some day this gets taken care of as well .

    • TS

      I would imagine that Janice and team will note this and take it on after the first of the year.

    • Dph

      Thanks DRay for the Rialto PD update, let alone SBCoSOff update on Nov. resigning.
      Needed to hear that. Eric Knight thanks for the breakdown, needed. Adelanto is where my cousin was.
      Hickville and ranchers and dumb Repubs. Still SBCo. High Desert, go figure that one out.
      Great accomplishments to Janice and Frank and The Team over the years knocking them into Reality.
      Thank You, maybe better 2018, since we must all wait for 2021 instead of 2020 or sooner. They all will go into hiding by then and the Gov.
      NOTED; Gov did NOT relieve any RSO or RC out of the 138 Felon’s from accomplishment of PARDON’s.
      Fkd’g again by The State we paid dues to …oh yeah, a murderer and feed the kids drugs, but RC- F NO!
      He’ll be out of office along with the GA and the others that signed this bill…PUBLIC SAFETY for them.
      After KNOCKING it down from where it started from with better outcomes, comes down WHITTLED to less than zero.
      No Auto, review every case and let the DA Decide? Oh! We can only have so many per our County guys, they yell out…don’t forget, don’t let Joe Schmoe off keep him and her for a SHOWING that our County doesn’t let a free for all occur and release all these damn SO’s off the hook, we can’t start riots at our County’s Courts bldg.

  15. James

    I am so confused by the sex offender laws in this state. I was convicted for a sex offense in Oregon 1999 against a minor under 14. Are there residency restrictions on me in California? I am not on parole or probation.

    • Dph

      You Should Be James! WElcome to Cali World, a government within the government. The U.S. big one.
      More punishment, more unknowns, more rules.
      Welcome to Cali Country

  16. AJ

    If State law fully occupies the field of RC laws, etc., doesn’t that mean every single piece of legislation below the State level is null and void? It would seem one merely need make the same argument against any HOA, City, Township, County, or School District to get something struck.

    BTW, I really loved Footnote 2! (And @mike r, take notice how the Court dislikes such mistakes.)

    Well done, Janice et al.

  17. David Kennerly, barred by most homeowner's associations

    “20% of Americans live in a community governed by a condo association, homeowners association or co-op board, according to the Community Associations Institute.” Sounds like hell, doesn’t it? I think that you can assume that we would not be allowed through the front gate of most HOAs. It’s an odd legal regime that governs them but they seem to get by with their extreme busybodyness by being non-governmental and private. “Covenants” were the go-to solution well into the 1960s for keeping blacks out of many communities. “The Supreme Court ruled against racially restrictive covenants in 1948, and they were outlawed by the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. But because so many of them remain in deeds and neighborhood bylaws, some states, including California, have moved to eliminate them.Apr 21, 2005”

    • CR

      What are you quoting from, David? I don’t see what you’ve quoted in the Federal Court’s decision.

      • David Kennerly, I can't prove that I am not a robot

        No, I was quoted another piece for which I didn’t provide the link. I was just giving a bit of context to HOAs and how ubiquitous they seem to have become. We’re becoming one, big “gated” community!

        • Tim Moore

          Correction on the previous post: Glengarry. Glen Prison. Although Glendora probably has its share of fenced communities and HOA’s, I don’t know, I meant reference to the play. Don’t you think this gated community thing is people’s expression onto their living environment of the fear of the rotting inner city, begun in the late 70’s and its perceived drug crazed miscreants slithering into the manicured suburbs to steal, kill and rape?

        • David Kennerly, There But For the Grace Of Dog...

          I had gotten your reference to Glengarry, Glen Ross and thought it clever. I really like that movie. Kevin Spacey and Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, et al are terrific in that. David Mamet’s work is brutally incisive. The Spanish Prisoner is a less well-known film of his that I recommend. Steve Martin breaks out of comedy for that film to project the kind of studious menace which Mamet is so good at crafting. As for HOAs and gated communities: they strike me as, not only as if they were out of a Mamet play, themselves, but as being a kind of proxy for the police state that many would willing inhabit in order to gain a little more security. They may exist primarily to keep people like us out although I think that that is to take them solely at their word, a credit I am constitutionally loathe to extend. There is so much more to the American psyche than what they are willing to admit either to themselves or to others.

        • Tim Moore

          As for the play, I saw a live version at a local University of California. It is important that registrants have access to such cultural treats. Rehabilitation is not just about not commiting a new crime. It is about cultivating your better self. If the play had been shown at one of the performing arts centers located on high school grounds, I would have had to beg permission to attend, maybe even denied. What bothers me about America is that you see segregation all around and few care that it is there.

  18. Eric

    Thank you Janet and Chance, this is a huge step forward, the federal courts are little by little leaning in our favor. I do believe they know the registry is unconstitutional, but all are afraid to be the first to step forward and say it.

  19. mike r

    Now I would imagine that this covers presence bans as well???? It appears that presence bans and the language would be of similar status…

  20. John doe

    Hey, Congratulations to acsol and my California neighbours. Thumbs up!

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