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ACSOLCaliforniaGeneral News

COURT DETERMINES ORANGE COUNTY SEX OFFENDER ORDINANCE UNLAWFUL

The ordinance passed by Orange County which prohibits all registrants from entering public parks, beaches, harbors and other recreational areas is unlawful, according to a panel of three Superior Court judges.  The unanimous decision was issued on November 15.

According to this decision, the county ordinance violates the constitution of the State of California because it preempts existing state law which prohibits registrants from entering public parks but only if the registrant is on parole and offended against a child who is less than 14 years old.  That law is California Penal Code Section 3053.8.

“This is a major victory for registrants, not only in Orange County, but throughout the state of California,” stated Janice Bellucci, California RSOL state organizer.  “Registrants can now recreate in the parks, beaches, and harbors of Orange County without fear of being arrested or fined.”

This decision is the result of the dedication and hard work of attorneys within the Orange County Public Defender’s Office who have represented registrant Hugo Godinez, who was arrested in an Orange County Park on May 5, 2011.  According to attorney Scott Van Camp, Godinez was attending a mandatory company celebration of Cinco de Mayo at the time of his arrest.

The court’s decision has been referred to the next appellate level for possible review.  That court could reject further consideration of this decision or accept the case for additional review.  A decision by that court regarding further review of the November 15 decision is expected in December.   

The November 15 decision is limited to the Orange County ordinance and does not apply to ordinances passed by cities within that county or any other county.  However, additional challenges have been made to similar ordinances adopted by Orange County cities, including but not limited to Tustin, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Seal Beach, and Huntington Beach. 

Court Decision

Join the discussion

  1. C

    Rock on, baby!

    Janice Bellucci for AG!!!

  2. Jeff

    Janice you are an angel sent from heaven!!!!

    The O.C. D.A. is vigorous and determined, but is fortunately uninformed on the real issues of protecting the public from dangerous persons. He has a real problem in Anaheim with the gangs that kill at least 1 person a week but he would rather focus on a group that is just trying to move on with their lives.

    I spent my entire summer telling my 11 year old son that I could not go to the park to throw the football with him. How can the damage that has been done be reversed? It cannot. He will remember the last summer FOREVER. I have had nightmares of being dragged from my home and persecuted. I was convicted in 1989 in a bogus child custody case. I have had three boys born since then that I have raised to be great people despite the mark that was put on them as well as myself for events that never happened. I prayed this morning as I always do and I had this overwhelming feeling that god answered me right then and there. I was overcome with a flood of Energy and Life like never before. Then I checked here as I always do and I knew, My prayer was answered.

  3. steve

    Hey Orange County! Do you still think DA Tony Rackauckas, who came up with these nazi-esque laws, is someone who understands the law enough to continue as the DA? Enjoy those courts costs O.C.

    • Jeff

      I think the court cost are the last thing he should be worrying about. Basically he interned us like the Japanese were interned in WWll. We were forbidden rights without due process. We need to be compensated as the Japanese were. If any one with a majority can create an unjust law with no responsibility for it’s affects without punitive damage as the result of said law being deemed unjust. Then laws will be created by people in power that they know will only be enforced to suit there time frame. I.E. every election we have to deal with this paranoia attack on the public, of course the public will vote to have anyone accused of hurting a child to be castrated, Tarred feathered and burned at the stake. To use this tactic is not only self serving to the politician it is a violation of human rights with no regard for the people it is harming. It’s no more far fetched than telling people that red is the only color to be used to paint your house in honor of the “Angels”. and to paint your house in Blue is a misdemeanor with fines and jail time as punishment. The voters in O.C. might possibly approve such a law. I bet you the people that were told to repaint there house from blue to red would be paid for this nonsensical law. Before they can just say it’s illegal to drink lemonade maybe they should think about what the heck they are doing. I suffered sever psychological damage from the parks ban and my children will never forget this summer.

      • Joe

        Then you and your children should be compensated for this injury you suffered…

        • Jeff

          My children yes. Proving my innocence is a whole different matter. When my children have to suffer for what a Father has supposedly done comes into the realm of born into slavery. I have three boys ages 21 18 and 11 all born after the bogus conviction. When my 11 year old comes home from school bullied and not allowed to partake in what a normal 11 year enjoys then I have problems. If he joins the school choir I am not allowed to go see him perform. If he joins in the soccer team I am not allowed to cheer him on it is quite possible that he thinks his father hates him by not attending these events. I can see no good coming from the current law.
          Maybe we should have all bankers and realtors registered as dangerous, I could go on and on, but if you really looked at the facts I would assume to say that in the 80’s and 90’s there are a heck of a lot of innocent people that were subject to moronic child protective services that had no idea of wtf they were doing and who they were hurting.

        • Joe

          @Jeff – the SS Innocence sailed with your conviction in 1989. But that does not mean that you do not have rights. If your rights were infringed upon due to this ordinance and you / your children suffered as a result… I do not see why you, in addition to your children, should not be compensated.

  4. steve

    Jeff, I know how you feel. I was unable to go with my family to the Huntington Beach dog area with my family because of this law and had to answer to my kids as well. It’s time for a change and a REAL look at who needs to be on this list.

  5. Bruce

    Kick A Hole in The Sky!!! WOOO HOOOO Janice & Team!!!!!!!!
    Congrats!

  6. Joe

    Holy Cr@p! Although it seems common sense, I was beginning to wonder if such a decision would ever happen.

    Thank you to Janice and all others who have the courage to stand up, show up and speak up.

    A great big Thank You! to the OC Public Defender’s office – much overworked and under-appreciated – but for more and more people without means the only way to restore their rights and protection from ‘justice’ run amok. No, really, thank you!!

  7. JM

    Joe, in addition, Tony Rackauck’s side kick Susan Kang Schroeder’s husband was arrested on Halloween night for drunk driving, while his wife Susan was pre-occupied with going around to all the Orange County cities with her lies focusing on all the sex offenders. They don’t want someone they require to register having a outside light on Halloween (heaven forbid) but her husband could have killed someone that night, and she is okay with that. Someone needs to write to the editor of the Orange County Weekly and enlighten him to Mr. Schroeder’s offense. (I could not)

  8. http404

    The appellate judges made a clear case for common sense in pointing out the absurdity of a “transient population” not knowing which city has which rule. If there is any ambiguity in legal precedent as to the question of state preemption or not that would allow for judicial discretion at the higher level of appeal, it seems to me that contention tips the scales toward a decision favorable toward preemption. Let us hope the state appellate agrees.

  9. Janice Bellucci

    Thank you all for your positive comments. This is indeed a bright day full of light and hope. There are more dominoes to fall. Please stay tuned.

  10. Bruce H

    I hope this is the tipping point that we all have been waiting for. Great job Janice. We all need to get on board and help Janice navigate all of us and our families through these issues. Loud mouth Tony is not going to take this well. His chief of Staff has her own family issues now with nher husbands arrest. I don’t see Tony going after or having DUI recepiants having to register or paint there cars a special color so we know who is driving!!!

    Great Job Janice and I think we all need to support her. Please go to the web site and donate what you can to help her fight for us.

  11. Laura

    To the team… thank you for your hard work & dedication. For the haters… u have NO idea what this law has done to these guys subjected to it. As a wife of one in O.C., I have seen first hand what this law has done to these guys. Yes some of the ones that are repeat offenders need help. But to those that dont need it, this law has done irrepairable damage psychologicaly. Try being homeless, in the rain, with hardly any shelter whatsoever, when its 40 degrees outside & cant go to a shelter for warmth. Only then can any of you have something to say. These guys are more of a danger out on the streets than in homes where responsible parties can look out for. Most of these guys have a place to stay but thanks to “lovely” Jessicas Law they were subjected to inhumaine conditions due to the restrictions of the law. Thanks to people voting for this law, they have inadvertently put their kids in more danger by sending these guys to the streets without much supervision. Thanks again for standing up.

  12. Valerie Evangelho

    Yeah Hootie!!!
    Another thank you Janice for doing the right thing even when it sometimes makes you the target of some pretty nasty comments. Frank called me today with the news and now I can pass it on to my son.
    Blessings-Val

  13. RD

    THANK YOU GOD FOR SENDING US JANICE!!! Thanks again Janice I couldn’t shout loud enough this morning running to the kitchen to tell my family… Thank you thank you!!!May God pour his blessings on all of you….thank you God for answered prayers

    • Tired of hiding

      No need to thank god. Even if you do believe in that we are dealing with man’s laws and just as slavery was unfair and unjust to those who suffered because of the laws that existed at the time, we too will be free on day from these unjust laws that are keeping us in chains!

  14. Roy Thompson

    Although I am not a resident of Orange County, I wanted to weigh in on the sex offender ordinance by expressing my deeply felt appreciation to all of you involved in the thoughtful and organized legal push-back. I am profoundly grateful to you individually and as segment of our society for highlighting the dignity of all men (including offenders) and the courage to fight to protect the right of ex- offenders to rehabilitate their personal dignity and freely enjoy the civil liberties of all responsible productive citizens.

  15. Brian

    Thank you Janice and everyone at RSOL!!!

  16. Scoop213

    With all due respect to Ms. Bellucci, neither she nor California RSOL are responsible for this decision. The case was brought on behalf of a probationer registrant named Hugo Godinez, an Orange County resident, by the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. Mr. Godinez had been arrested in Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley on Cinco De Mayo 2011 and the OCPD’s office represented Hugo in the criminal case that followed. Give credit to Scott VanCamp, Mr. Godinez’s public defender.

    To be fair, credit for this decision also rests with the brave registrant parolees and probationers who initially brought constitutional challenges to the courts in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, among other counties,to which the Public Defender’s offices became assigned to represent, per rules of the court. These challenges began in 2010, well before Ms. Bellucci’s involvement in California RSOL.

    So, though Janice is to be commended for her relentless advocacy, she is not the correct person to thank for this decision.

    • Janice Bellucci

      You are correct. We are merely publicizing the good work of others. My accolades go to the Orange County Public Defenders Office for taking the initiative to file the suit and then the tenacity to continue pursuing it to the Court of Appeals.

    • Joe

      @Scoop213 – with all due respect, the news article by CA RSOL on this site (perhaps authored by Janice Bellucci herself?) clearly states:

      “This decision is the result of the dedication and hard work of attorneys within the Orange County Public Defender’s Office who have represented registrant Hugo Godinez, who was arrested in an Orange County Park on May 5, 2011. According to attorney Scott Van Camp, Godinez was attending a mandatory company celebration of Cinco de Mayo at the time of his arrest.”

      Nowhere does this sound like an attempted credit grab by her or the organization. As you can see I specifically mention and give thanks to the OC Public Defender’s Office in my comment on November 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm.

      Getting this 2-week old decision publicized, however, is an accomplishment by her and / or CA RSOL, as is clearly evident in (the comments on) this article – the only mention I have seen of the decision so far. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/11/orange_county_sex_offender_ord.php

      Another thing that this did was to prompt (force?) the OCDA to issue a statement. Weeks after the decision, about 90 minutes after the article was published. Most entertaining, indeed.

      Now, if people do not read carefully or want to give credit where credit is not due, that is neither here nor there. I believe that through her courageous advocacy, which is so much more public than the PD Office can be, Janice has given a glimmer of hope to so many after so long. People have just gotten used to having only one single champion of the cause. Good to hear that this is not true!

      But really, this whole exercise is not about individual accomplishments, or even the plight of a group of people – it is about what is right and just and constitutional – for us all. Lets not quibble – I sure hope that some connections were made and synergies formed as a result of this.

      Thanks again, OCPD Office, Mr. Van Camp and Mr. Godinez! To even better things to come!

  17. JM

    Scoop213,

    You are right of course. But, without Janice, RSOL, and this website, many would not be able to learn of such news, know that there are brave people out there standing up, and speaking out. Giving us a way to connect, giving us a way to support each other. No one is really alone if they can believe that there are many fighting for them and their families rights. As more citizens gain the courage to fight, we will start to gain hope and the courage to keep fighting. Everyone reading this will always remember the name “Scott VanCamp” Public Defender,the defendent, as well as the nameless people who worked on this case. Nor will any of us ever forget the name “Janice Bellucci” for bringing lightness into the darkness of our lives. I want to thank them all.

  18. J. Miller

    These laws, lifetime registry and “stigma” in fact, accomplishes; lining the pockets of private “therapists” (blood money), making it difficult for the offender to find work, a place to live, strive to change their life to get off the registry and have been proven ineffective, if not more dangerous for the community. You cannot legislate your way out of human behaviors. One can take responsibility for their own life and become a good person again, in spite of these fear mongering requirements to fool an ignorant society into thinking they are safer.

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