California RSOL met in Los Angeles with about 45 registrants, family members and supporters at the ACLU building in Los Angeles on September 15. The focus of the meeting was issues involving registrants such as residency restrictions, city and county ordinances, and future litigation. Information was shared during the meeting regarding the recent decision of a California appellate court that a blanket restriction prohibiting sex offenders from living hear places where children congregate is unconstitutional.
“This court decision has a broad and positive effect upon registrants on parole,” stated state organizer Janice Bellucci. “CDCR can no longer require all registrants on parole to abide by residency restrictions.” She warned, however, that this decision could be overturned by the state supreme court in the case People v. Mosley. That case has been before the court for two years and a decision is not imminent as oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.
The topic of recent city ordinances was also discussed during the meeting, in particular ordinances passed by the cities of Simi Valley on September 10 and Lancaster on September 11. The Simi Valley ordinance requires some, but not all, registrants in that city to post a sign on the front door of their residence stating “no candy or treats at this residence”. It is estimated that this ordinance will apply to almost 70 households, including the households of 4 registrants whose addresses are not posted on the Megan’s Law website.
The Lancaster ordinance is much broader in scope and prohibits all registrants from being within 300 feet of a public park, swimming pool, museum, library, arcades, movie theaters, etc. The ordinance also prohibits more than one registrant from staying in a hotel or motel and from decorating his/her house for Halloween.
“These ordinances are unconstitutional and must be stopped,” stated Bellucci. “California RSOL will assist in filing lawsuits to stop their enforcement.”
Others speaking at the meeting included psychologists Barry Levy and JoEllen Wiggington who both counsel registrants. They shared stories regarding recent abuses by parole and probation officers including the removal of a tattoo and the requirement to obtain a land line phone. Three members of the California RSOL board of directors attended the meeting, including author Frank Lindsay, who wrote of his experiences as a registrant in the book “We’re All in This Together.”
California RSOL will return to Los Angeles on November 10 and will meet at the same location, the ACLU building at 1313 W. 8th Street. Meetings are open to registrants, family members, and supporters but closed to media and government officials.