DE: ACLU Settles Lawsuit Over Sex Offender Residence

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP)- The American Civil Liberties Union has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit challenging a Dover ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from living within 500 feet of day care centers.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in February on behalf of Michael A. Justice, a registered sex offender who began living at his mother’s apartment before the ordinance was adopted. Full Article

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Thank you, ACLU Delaware, for challenging this law! Where are you ACLU Southern California? The laws in L.A. County, Orange County and San Diego County are much worse than the Dover ordinance and need to be challenged now!

What has happened with this lawsuit seems mediocre at best. The ACLU says it is ready to file on bahalf of other sex offenders subjected to the law. OK, hopefully that will turnout a lot better than this one, where all they seem to have done is say the law doesn’t apply to where you were living prior to its enactment (but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to you if you move).

That small concession on the law is something, sure, but it is not adequate enough to consider that any kind of victory. File the more significant suit, and do not settle for something that is not enough — too often these settlements turn out to be bad too. No retroactivity at all, sure; but this kind of law should not exist at all, violates everything America is supposed to stand for, and should not exist in any form. If you settle by saying OK, we will let it apply to new offenders, just not to previous offenders, you are saying the penalty it imposes is OK. That residency penalty is never OK, but that kind of settlement means you are saying it is OK. Hey, I’m not going to be a new offenders, but I still fell it is critical to stand for what it right, not to compromise that. As long as you keep settling and implicitly saying that horrible, unacceptable things are OK, you will keep seeing more and more horrible and unacceptable things coming down the pike, as we keep seeing.

I’m speaking to this now, before even a lawsuit much less a settlement, rather than have to speak after the fact.