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NPR: Harbor Gateway’s pocket park solution to sex offenders

— CA RSOL’s Janice Bellucci on AirTalk. Audio Feed should be available tomorrow.

The LA neighborhood of Harbor Gateway is building a small pocket park to try and force the area’s 33 registered sex offenders to move away.

Jessica’s Law bans registered sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school or park where children regularly gather. Supporters of the park think it’s a novel way to force sex offenders out of the neighborhood but civil rights lawyers are concerned the move will unfairly force sex offenders out of their homes.

Janice Bellucci, an attorney with California Reform Sex Offender Laws, thinks the new park will unconstitutionally banish people from the area; but City Councilman Joe Buscaino said he is willing to do anything in his power to keep sex offenders out of the neighborhood. Web Site

Join the discussion

  1. Janice Bellucci

    I felt ambushed in this radio interview. There were three individuals with opposing views and a host who questioned the veracity of the CDCR statistic that only 1.9 percent of sex offenders commit a second sex offense. I was “saved” by several supporters who called in or sent in an E-mail. Thank you!

  2. Paul Man

    Janice, do I understand correctly that offenders not on parole do not have to adhere to Jessica’s Law residency requirements? I think that is what you implied in your radio address. If my understanding is correct, this blows me away. I am off of parole and have been fretting about the residency restrictions for years. Since when has the residency restrictions for s.o.’s, off of parole, been lifted? Janice, is it true that in San Diego residency restrictions don’t even apply to people on parole?

    The public is funny, they pass laws that severely limit where an s.o. can live, then complain when they concentrate in one neighborhood.

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind all readers to contribute as much money as you can to this organization. The more money Janice and her helpers have to work with, the more they can do for us.

    • Janice Bellucci

      Attorney General Kamala Harris stated in her brief for the case of People v. Mosley that residency restrictions only apply to registrants who are on parole. That case, by the way, is before the California Supreme Court and is expected to decide whether residency restrictions are constitutional. If not, they can’t be applied to anyone. While we wait for the state supreme court to decide this important issue, some counties are not enforcing residency restrictions and some are. No wonder many registrants end up back in jail.

      • anon

        If the Supreme Court says that it is constitutional to have residency restrictions can it be challenged in Federal Court and take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary?

        • Janice Bellucci

          If the state supreme court decides that residency restrictions are constitutional, there might be a chance to take it to the federal supreme court, however, there is no guarantee the federal court will accept review of the case.

  3. Bill (with a capital G)

    …well if you’re “right by her side”, howsabout you email her a thousand bucks…

    Janice needs a bomb-shelter.

    Building parks to mitigate the threat posed by a forced concentration of sex offenders is one amazing stunt. Amply illustrating the venality of Los Angeles politics, it allows the perpetrator to slice two tomatoes with the same knife; beautify the otherwise despicably filthy neighborhood with a “park” barely large enough to let some street-bum piss on a bush and at the same stroke, strike a blow against the Despised.

    What genius.

    First we concentrate them into a controllable space, then we make that space uninhabitable. Why don’t they just build a gas chamber? It would be so much more humane. You get your 290 Registrant status and they give you a bus ticket to Los Angeles where you get in line to “take a shower”.

    Look, guys…It’s a noble effort and the United States has a long history of patriots fighting for liberty. The most promising development of late is the finding that paedophiles, like homosexuals, may be a discrete sexual subset and not a bunch of dangerous, flaming, perverts.
    The interesting thing is that Registered Sex Offenders are, bye and large, not a threat to society. I give you the fourteen-year-old girl who posted nude pictures of herself online and is now facing the prospect of being obliged to register as a “sex offender”. I guess she can’t live near a park, so wherever her family lives, they can’t. So the whole lot of ’em are now camped-out under a freeway somewhere because their daughter has attitude.
    Great. Genius. Justice.

    With all appreciation for the efforts that Janice puts forth, we need a nuclear weapon and not a musket. We need 20th-Century Marines; a band of Minutemen (dramatic as they may be) just won’t cut the mushroom here. Janice is going to get peeled with a razor-blade and they will pass whatever rules they want in spite.

    Constitution, or no constitution, there is no limiting the power of hate. This is why the laws passed to rid the various communities of Registered Sex Offenders are hate-crimes perpetrated by the various communities in the persons of their elected representatives. These ordinances are crimes at the Federal level and demand investigation by the F.B.I as much as other actions by organized crime syndicates.

    Deliberate, willful, premeditated violation of the rights of a minority of the citizenry is a Federal Crime. Hate-Crimes are a Federal Offense.

    Why are we not demanding protection, instead of tilting these Trojan Horses?

    Janice: Go Federal.

    • Janice Bellucci

      Members of the CA RSOL Board of Directors will visit the site of the park under construction as well as meet with registrants who live nearby on Tuesday. In the meantime, we are exploring possible causes of action in a federal court. We fully understand that our issue needs the attention of a judge who is appointed for life and not one who faces re-election.

    • td777

      The only reason I haven’t followed your example is because my wife, who this would obviously affect, has made it very clear she would not be comfortable with it because it affects her and our daughter as well.

  4. Bill (with a capital G)

    How nice that you are embarking on a ‘field trip’. I would hope you are including plenty of security personnel.

    Nearly a century after the end of the Civil War, the United States of America nearly went to pieces again over the civil rights of racial minorities, most directly the American Negro living in the deep South, but by inclusion all of us. One particularly egregious State deliberately and exclusively prohibited Colored People from participating in higher education. A squadron of Federal Marshals was dispatched as a result, thus bringing to light the Federal Government’s resolve to enforce the Civil Rights of its’ citizens, unpopular as those individual citizens may be with whatever Podunk community and it’s elected sheriff.

    If the housing restrictions in point apply only to parolees, and not to Registered Sex Offenders in general, then the issue is grist for the parole agents and their charges. The issue is absolutely not something over which a local City Council can assume authority, anymore than they can determine specific sentencing requirements and force the courts to comply. It’s a separation of powers issue and pretty well defined in American law.
    But if these backwater councils see fit to enact ordinances against various citizens simply because those citizens are included in whatever registry, those councils tread on very thin legally legitimate ice and may very well be not unlike the Mississippi bigots who tried to marginalize people of color simply because they didn’t want racial integration despoiling their white purity.

  5. mike

    I was reading the Orange County Register article about these ‘pocket parks’ and that there is an initiative to build 50 parks in the city of L.A. to bring green space to blighted areas. If they continue to strategically build them as a means of restricting and prohibiting where registrants can live, Then I can’t imagine it will be too difficult to get a federal judge to lift the residency restrictions the way they were in San Diego County. It’s just a thought.
    “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”

    • Janice Bellucci

      The case in San Diego was won only after thousands of hours were devoted to the case and an evidentiary hearing was held. We will need volunteers, lots of volunteers to determine where in the city and/or county of L.A. a registered citizen can live.

    • mike

      I believe fighting this scandalous political behavior is a worthy cause if for nothing else but to expose these pandering fear mongers for their callous inhumane nature. I seriously doubt those 33 registrants chose this neighborhood to setup shop or whatever. I’m sure they would all prefer to live far away from sex offenders too. The mere notion that registrants exhibit ‘swarming behaviors’ gives me a headache. Even if they do build a park across the street from this dwelling, I believe Los Angeles superior Court Judge (and ex-casomb member) the HONORABLE Judge Peter Espinosa placed a ‘Stay’ on residency restrictions a couple years ago when over 650 of L.A.’s registrants filed habeas corpus petitions against Jessica’s Law.

      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/law-restricting-where-sex-offenders-can-live-unconstitutional-la-judge-rules.html

      When humanity and politicians bear their ugly fangs and play these hijinks in order to evict these registrants from the last house on the block, well… it’s no wonder the Pope quit!

    • Still sleeping in a van AFTER PAROLE!

      Orange County has been doing this for a few years now. Any public area that had grass was designated as a park so they could keep RSO’s out of a lot of areas. All you have to do is visit Anaheim and see how the sidewalk on the east side of Brookhurst was designated as a park, and at the corner of Lampson and Brookhurst, Garden Grove designated the corner as a “mini-park” in order to keep RSO’s from living nearby. In fact, it was the Lampson/Brookhurst mini park that kept me from attending my church for a while when I was on parole.

  6. USA

    I’m dumbfounded? Some cities enforce the residency restrictions and some don’t?

  7. Tired of hiding

    The Nazi used similar techniques to control where certain groups could live. Once that was done they herded them into concentration camps where they could begin their “final solution” to the “problem”.

    Seems like this is the way things are progressing for us…how long before we are zoned out of every possible area except the concentration camps they are surly planning for the next phase of their plan for us.

    When will this madness stop!

    • anon

      What people don’t seem to get with their “it’s just sex offenders, they shouldn’t have any rights” attitude is that if it comes down to putting sex offenders in a concentration like camp then what is to stop them from putting other groups of people there? You get them to discriminate against one group then there’s precedent to do it to others.

      • Tired of hiding

        Well, it took the entire world to stop the Nazis from completing their plans of the final solution. Don’t think that the rest of the world has any interest in stepping in to assist us…in fact, other countries have started their own lists…

  8. Paul Man

    Janice you mentioned that the attorney general said in her brief that the residency restrictions apply only to parolees. How does that square with what you know about residency restrictions in all the counties? Could the attorney general be intentionally misleading the court?

    • Janice Bellucci

      There are different types of residency restrictions — state, county and city. The Attorney General was commenting upon the state residency restrictions only. Counties and cities have passed their own residency restrictions and some of those restrictions apply to all sex offenders while others only apply to sex offenders on parole. In the case of counties and cities, it is important to read the definition of “sex offender” and to check to see if there are any exceptions to that definition. For example, in some county or city ordinances there are “grandfather clauses” that allow sex offenders to stay if they own a home prior to passage of the ordinance.

      • td777

        My case started before Jessica’s Law was passed, but I was still forced to move because I was a renter.

  9. Kedrick Parker of Lancaster

    I got released from la county jail yesterday under Ab 109 law, I just completed my violation for not registering the business I worked for the last 2 1/2 yes on parole. They said I did not register my job as a residence . I worked night shift for the while time until my violation until my recent violation. Today I went to the parole building today and they told me to give a address or go sleep in the middle of a desert. I’m in the middle of a dedeer now… I received no gate money for a place to sleep and I have to be in a specific spot while I’m transient , like a curfew… I’m in Lancaster CA…. It’s not in my parole conditions but my parole agent and his supervisor, said if I don’t be there prepare to go to jail tomorrow… I feel like I’m pressed by a hate crime. My crime is pandering a minor, and my file clearly shows I had no participation in the crime, my controlling case is a burglary from 2003, my s.o. Is from Nevada…. I’m willing to be in the front of the cameras and take the hits from the public…. Call me 6615440008 if there’s anything I can do

    • J

      Report your Parole Officer for the statement he made and keep going up the ladder until you get a response. Parole are the only resources the state has that are in a position to help the registrant. Parole agents are state employees and despite what good they think they are doing in mistreating registrants, they have to be accountable for proper behavior just like everyone else. That is essentially bullying. They need to provide guidance and protocol to assist you in re-entry and stabilization. They are not a punitive aspect of the process – or at least they aren’t supposed to be.
      Contact your attorney or public defender and let them help out.

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