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.