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Appeals court rules against Orange County on sex offender law

A panel of California appeals court judges found Friday that state law trumps Orange County’s regulations on sex offenders that ban them from parks and beaches.

The fourth appellate district decision reverses the conviction of ____ ____, a registered sex offender who was convicted of a misdemeanor for violating the county ordinance after he went to a company picnic at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley in 2011. ____ had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery in 2010. The county’s restrictions on sex offenders, passed in 2011, were among the most aggressive in the state. Full Article



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This decision is the most significant victory yet for registered citizens in the State of California. It states clearly that ordinances which restrict the presence of registered citizens from public sites, such as parks, beaches, and hiking trails, are preempted by state law and therefore cannot be enforced. This decision should be noted by more than 100 cities and/or counties that have passed ordinances with similar restrictions. They would be wise to repeal their ordinances NOW because if they do not, their ordinances can be challenged in court. Let us take a moment to savor this victory perhaps by visiting an Orange County park with your loved ones. If you choose to do this, please let us know by describing your visit on this website. Enjoy! Finally, we give our thanks to the Orange County Public Defenders Office, in general, and to attorney Scott Van Camp, in particular. Job well done!

Hallelujah! I would like to add a shout of gratitude not only to Scott Van Camp and the OC Public Defender’s office but also to Attorney Dennis Riordan and, most importantly, defendant / appellant Hugo Godinez who had the courage to challenge his conviction. A registrant who, mind you, is not even displayed on the public web site but who had the guts, for whatever reason, to say ‘enough is enough’.

As Janice said, unless the remaining cities IMMEDIATELY put on their agendas the modification of their municipal code and repeal these laws at the earliest possible opportunity one can only hope that someone will challenge them and perhaps end up with a large settlement.

Sounds like shooting fish in a barrel. Who will find their inner Godinez??

I was not aware of the second part of your comment about publication. Thanks for a well written and highly encouraging comment on a highly encouraging decision!

I would have paid to see the faces of Rackauckas and the “Kangster” as they heard the news.

Me too!

We can only hope that Mr. Godinez finds an attorney who can win a sizable suit of compensation for his arrest and everything despicable event that followed it.

I got five bucks that says at leass 3 cities will drag their feet and wind up getting spanked in court!

This is a serious win — but if appealed, it will not final until the state Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. But in the meantime, such laws are banned in Orange County, and the ban could become statewide.

The court ruled that the restrictions that allow registrants to go to such locations only with the written permission of the sheriff amount to a “de facto registration requirement,” and that the state registration law preempts any such local registration law.

This is a very good win. It should make it that much easier to fight registration and all the collateral horrors it imposes by allowing the focus solely on the state, rather than scattered in every municipality around the state.

But mind you, this addresses only local ordinances, and apparently only those that rise to the level of a local registration requirement (whatever that standard is, and from what I read, maybe only those that require you to go into the police or sheriff’s department to deal with it. So, maybe other local ordinances could stand if there is never any reason you would need to go into the police). This does nothing to limit or turn back state laws, and any of these horrid local restrictions could end up in state law at some point. That is, the court did not say the restrictions were wrong, only that they were applied by the wrong level of government. I would be much happier if such restrictions were ruled unconstitutional, as they should be ruled. But this is a welcome decision in the meantime.

As you say, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bill put before the voters to make it a STATE law to prohibit registrants from parks, hiking trails, libraries, beaches, public swimming pools and etc to protect vulnerable children.
Of course the public would vote it in.

It is chilling to see how arbitrary and punitive these laws are and the extent that opportunistic public officials take these for their own purposes. The isolation and exploitation of this group of citizens is clearly unconstitutional and we must always be wary of any move to get these “Corvinian” laws woven into the quagmire that is the current 290 body of (unjust) law. This ruling will not stop these bottom feeders from coming up with derivatives or other Trojan horse instruments.

For now we can briefly bask in this victory but must never relinquish power to those who clearly intend to harm us and our families for their own political gains. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Kudos to all involved in their efforts to expose these laws for what they are (and aren’t).


If only now we could get a clear “line in the sand” regarding 3003.5 (b) … On whether or not residency restrictions apply to ALL registrants or those only on parole ….

3003.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when a
person is released on parole after having served a term of
imprisonment in state prison for any offense for which registration
is required pursuant to Section 290, that person may not, during the
period of parole, reside in any single family dwelling with any other
person also required to register pursuant to Section 290, unless
those persons are legally related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
For purposes of this section, “single family dwelling” shall not
include a residential facility which serves six or fewer persons.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is unlawful for
any person for whom registration is required pursuant to Section 290
to reside within 2000 feet of any public or private school, or park
where children regularly gather.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit municipal jurisdictions
from enacting local ordinances that further restrict the residency
of any person for whom registration is required pursuant to Section

PARK VISIT WITHOUT FEAR …. what a concept!!

The residency restrictions apply to all registrants — that is not the question. The question raised when that (b) was added was whether the residency restrictions could be applied retroactively, or even whether they could be applied if there were not reasonable opportunities for housing outside those restricted areas.

There are two cases currently under review by the California Supreme Court in which the constitutionality of residency restrictions is being questioned. The court has had one case for more than 3 years and the second case more than 1 year. In the first case, the Attorney General argued that such restrictions are constitutional, however, they should only be applied to registrants while they are on parole. California RSOL supports the position that all residency restrictions are unconstitutional.

This is a serious VICTORY

There’s more beyond the surface here. Most people don’t know how easy it is to get put on the Sex Offender Registry. There has been children on the sex offender registry as young as 9 years old. Punitive measures are added Ex post facto at the whim of any politician looking to get elected (like that of the DA). Making the registrant their new whipping boy for votes. What about the rights of the registrant’s child? Don’t they have a right to be with their parent? These laws break more than the US. Constitution and the God given right (spiritual law) of a parent to be with their child but it also breaks natural law. Even a mother bear is allowed to be with her cubs, but for a registrant and their child these laws dare to break those fundamental God given rights. Really? Where are we in pre-1945 Germany? Oh, about the sheriff giving out passes for registrants to go to parks. Why would a law ENFORCEMENT agency give out passes for people to break the law? It’s remiss of their position to do such a thing! Sometimes Kids get hurt at parks and beaches. Whether by falling out of a tree, drowning or choking on a hot-dog. It seems okay to violate the registrant child’s safety by disallowing their first line of defense (their parents) to be there. Ladies and gentlemen these kind of draconian laws are not for freedom but tyranny and amounts to a form of child endangerment. The numbers and facts don’t justify these fear based draconian laws. TRUTH

So this is officially official? No super sneaky changing or anything? I mean seriously, this is a “Win” so today when I go with my sister and nephews I don’t have to be jumpy if a cop car pulls up on the back of my car to run a license tag?

So do you think that the general public knows this ? I think not. All the media hype and attention when the law was passed but crickets when it is repelled. I wonder how the over zealous politicians feel ? I guess they will have to tell the public that they made a mistake and were wrong. That will never happen but in the meanwhile Orange County citizens will think that they have no registered citizens in their beloved parks, beaches and trails. Ignorance is bliss they say. So how many registered citizens have been arrested for this bogus ordinance ? I for one want us to go to Parks and beaches and hand out the new CA RSOL brochure and educate the misled public. Educate not Hate is the new Motto.

My Thanks and my families go out to all the wonderful people who made this ridiculous law a thing of the past. Now time to go after the Cities.

Constitution Strong we are. Thank you for protecting all Americans Freedoms and rights.

The media has given a lot of attention to this decision. The Orange County Register published a story on front page this morning in the most prominent position on that page. The Los Angeles published a story on page AA3 in the most prominent position on that page that included the name of this organization and quoted me.

Bryan Suits, on KABC 790, just briefly touched in this and said he plans to talk more about it tomorrow. His producer is reaching out to the OC Board of Supervisor’s and DA’s office (who is a bit preoccupied with the looming Kelly Thomas verdict). Maybe CA RSOL can get some air time on the show so that the discussion is not completely one-sided.

I had a run-in with him when he was at KFI, and I called back when the residency restrictions were being ratcheted up in California. I only talked for a minute, but I was able to get Mary Duval, then-CEO of SOSEN to talk about sex offender issues. They pretty much derided her, even making a crack about her being blind.

Here is a link to the saved podcasts of the radio shows:

The first link is the best link, the other four are good as well.

If he ever talks about sex offender issues, it will show up on the podcast list (of course, after the show has aired).

@MM…good putting that section of law in your comment “line in sand”….that analbody or
whatever that lady calls herself should change name to Debbie downer ….anyways…clearly
the where you live is a parole condition…that section of law is within control of parole….the “line
in the sand” is clear……the section alone its under is clear…parole………and yes…local ordinances
that put free Americans back into parole conditions need to be sued BIG…BIG $$$$

Question to Janice, and something to ponder:
As stated by the appeals court in their opinion, “We decline to sever the written permission requirement from the county ordinance. To do so would result in an outright ban on sex offenders entering county parks. But taking this step would substantially alter the meaning of the county ordinance as originally enacted because nothing in the language of the county ordinance or its history suggests the county intended to bar sex offenders under all circumstances from county parks.”

Can the County of Orange revise their ordinance, removing the permission component, and put in place a blanket ban on registrants being allowed into parks, beaches, etc.? Or does this paragraph prohibit such action: “The Legislature has enacted a comprehensive statutory scheme regulating the daily life of sex offenders to reduce the risk of an offender committing a new offense. As explained below, we conclude the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life fully occupies the field and therefore preempts the county’s efforts to restrict sex offenders from visiting county parks. “

Thanks for the clarification!

Unfortunately, the more I read the opinion, the more I come under the belief that if Orange County amends its ordinance to create an outright ban, this decision becomes null and void, and we are right back to square one. In fact, it almost appears to me that the court was leading the county to this conclusion: simply put in place an outright ban, and the county is in the clear.

Am I missing something Janice?


I agree — I saw that too, and suggested this in my post above. It appears the opinion turns on the requirement to go into the sheriff’s office for a written waiver, thus that being the standard that makes it a “registration” law,, and the state preempts any local registration law. Take that out, making for no waivers, and this ruling very well might not apply as the prohibition then would not be a registration law.

This ruling is significant, but perhaps a lot less than it appears to people here at first glance. It could even pave the way to backfire on us as paving the away to not even allowing for a written waiver!

I am not an expert in this and I am only piecing this together from bits I find on the internet…. what you are suggesting might happen – passing the blanket restriction without the waiver on the state level – actually already was attempted and abandoned.

In 2010, language very similar to the OC ordinance was included as part of Chelsea’s law. That very section was struck before its passage and replace by the prohibition of parolees and children under 14 that there is today.

See here (letter from OCDA to OC City Councils): – page 3

Why this happened I do not pretend to know. For an explanation by the OCDA Chief of Staff you can watch her testimony at a 2011 Laguna Hills City Council hearing. – at 44:00 (actually you should watch her entire 3 minute testimony as it is quite a trip)

I am sure the OCDA thought they were most clever to introduce this ordinance with the waiver – the only way (?) it was different from the state version that was rejected. Looks like that ultimately bit them in the rear. Again, listen to the OCDA COS testimony where she states the best lawyers in their office, lawyers that had argued in front of the State Supreme Court, had researched and blessed this. Ha!

Could the State Legislature pick this up again at any time in the future? No doubt. But they were already close once and did not proceed. In fact, it would appear the language was already included in the proposed legislation but purposefully stricken. And, this was before groups like CA RSOL and any public push back ever existed.

I hope this sheds some light on this. Again, I can only repeat what I have read, and am not saying that anything could not or would not happen. One cannot predict the future. But I also never imagined that anything at all would ever be overturned or that angels like Janice Bellucci et al would exist.

Right you are, ocguy. One reason this is a welcome ruling is that even if this ruling would allow for them to go back and eliminate any possibility of a waiver, simply out in a blanket ban, that doesn’t mean they will do so. They had reasons not to do so previously, and whatever those reasons are might be what stops them from doing that now — and this ruling gives them cover to not do it again.

We will have to wait and see.

I’m not sure, but I think there might be something involved in the law where there has to be some wiggle room on something like this in order for the law to stand — and this waiver, which would rarely if ever actually be given, was the wiggle room. If so, then whatever reason they thought the law could not stand without the wiggle room would block them from a flat out, no-waiver ban. But again, I’m not fully knowledgeable about any legal requirement for wiggle room, although it seems to come into play in at least some matters.

I’ve come across some suggestions over the years about absolutes on a permanent basis, no room to wiggle. In fact, that was why when they increased the standard to get our from under registration, they still allowed registrants to get out from under it if they got a pardon (or for misdemeanors, a certificate of rehabilitation), so that they would have the required wiggle room — although I don’t know what laws or doctrines require it.

So, yes, this might block anything at the local level. But it does bother me that the appellate court specifically said it could theoretically have simply struck the wiggle room and uphold the rest of the ban law — so maybe wiggle room isn’t needed in this matter. Nonetheless, this ruling says the state is the one to do it if it is to be done. Still, the state could have done it already, and has not, so there is no presumption it will now.

Yes, you are missing something. This is a clean and clear victory. The decision as I read it is in two parts and both parts support our position. It is only the second part that addresses the possibility (not reality) of getting permission from the sheriff.

Even though they added a clause wherein a registrant could submit an application with the Sheriff dept. I don’t believe the Sheriff was willing to accept the liability involved.

By Ian Lovett New York Times; May 30, 2012

“Sex offenders here can apply to the Orange County sheriff’s department to be allowed into a county park. So far, 15 applications have been submitted; all but one has been denied.

One applicant requested access to Dana Point Harbor to continue working as a commercial fisherman. Another was a locksmith who did work at businesses at the harbor and said he had a clean record during 28 years living in the area. A third wanted to attend a memorial service for his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, who had recently died.

All three requests were turned down. ”

On a personal note I’m very hopeful that many such onerous laws will be repealed through enlightenment and common sense. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but gradually.


Was arrested in 1959 I was 18 I am now 72 and still required to register. What’s up with that.

And the registration law doesn’t even provide an exemption for you even if you end up in an assisted living facility or even a nursing home – you will have to get in your wheelchair and go in and register anyway.

Maybe one day the police will make a sweep of all the assisted living facilities and bust half the people in them for failure to register. After all, just because you’ve been a good little boy for 54 years doesn’t mean you have passed the simple test of time and aren’t a seriously dangerous weenie wagger.

Wow! around 55 years. That is really messed up, especially if you’ve lived a clean life ever since.

John, please contact me directly to discuss your personal situation. We are collecting information about people like you who have been on the registry for that period of time. The information will NOT be shared with anyone else unless you allow us to do so and could possibly be used in future litigation.

I think Godinez took Orange County’s ball away. They can try to play with an outright ban, but then, without any administrative review or waiver language to make it look “regulatory”, it would look even more like ex post facto punishment, indeed punishment inflicted by local ordinance. Now I would think that would raise some really blatant constitution issues. No?

OC DA not giving it up. Not much of a surprise. I really hope this backfires and I’d like to see a total cost for taxpayers on this.

Thank you for the link to this article, Steve. When interviewed today by the O C Register, I told them the DA’s office was foolish for taking this case to the California Supreme Court. Why? Because they are wasting taxpayer dollars. Two courts have already determined that the Orange County ordinance is preempted by state law and the Supreme Court will most likely agree…..although it will take them several years to reach that decision……just like the residency restrictions cases.

Hello everyone. I am really new to all this, so can someone explain in “plain english” what all this means. My boyfriend is currently on Probation in Orange County and he has to wear a GPS bracelet. Is he allowed in parks, beaches and harbors? There is no stipulation from the PO, but he said he knew nothing about this law and put it into his folder that he is NOT allowed since it is a State law? He was going to talk to his supervisor, but who knows when this will happen. So, any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Hi Someone who cares;
Read the first post in this thread (at the top of the page) by Janice Bellucci. And go to the CARSOL meeting at the ACLU building at 1313 W. 8th Street in Los Angeles on Feb 8th at 10:am. It’s a civil rights group and does one hell of allot of good for people forced to be on the registry. At the very least you will get good and accurate information; and knowledge is power! If the one you care about is on probation or parole you will want to check with the P.O. to make sure it is OK for him/her to attend. And if it is not OK for the registrant in your life to attend, you can come by your self. Allot of people that are just like you (not a registrant) attend every time there is a meeting. Hope you can attend

Hi “Q”
I did attend the San Diego meeting and plan on going to the LA one as well. Why would a registrant on probation not be able to attend? I know you are not supposed to associate with others on the registry, etc, but attending a meeting is barely associating. Plus, like in any other situation, you don’t really know who these people are as nobody really discloses that information. However, if you think this needs to be run by the PO, we will do it. I will not take any chances with this. Thanks for the advice.

Hi Someone who cares
I don’t know for sure if the registrant in your life needs to run it by the PO. When I discovered CARSOL I had already been on the registry for over ten years. Perhaps someone else in this thread that knows can chime in. What I do know is that there are so many, many and some more many laws trying to govern every aspect of our lives. If you ans your significant other went to San Diego without a problem I don’t see why you cant come to LA. One more thing; I never told my PO more than I had to (cops and PO’s are not acting in your best interest)and never talk much to the cop when I register because they are just one of the many hands of those that persecute us.

I just read the Prison Law information, and everything that is mentioned talks about Parole and Parolees. Is there a different handbook for people on probation? It seems the rules might be a little different. It just gets confusing, and I want to learn as much as possible. Thanks.

They gave me written requirements when I was on probation. He should have those. One of the requirements was to get written permission any time I left the County. Sad to say, it was clearer what I could and couldn’t do on probation than now that I am “free”. Free? Ha!

So a week after this ruling one of today’s OCDA press releases (Jan 16) still makes reference to the parks ban in case of a so conviction.

If convicted, …’s lifetime sex offender registration would bar him from entering County recreational areas and City parks which have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance. Visit to read the prior press releases on the County’s Sex Offender Ordinance as well as the 14 other cities that have enacted the Child Safety Zone Ordinance.

The fact that this alleged misdemeanor offense is worthy of a DA Press Release speaks volumes, but the fact that legally binding decisions by the California Court of Appeals does not even faze them is troublesome.

Thank you for bringing the DA’s press release to our attention. We will contact the office tomorrow (Jan. 17) to discuss.

It sounds like someone is suffering a bad case of denial.

This guy will try to slime his way around a higher court!?!?!!! This slime ball doesn’t seem to respect the law unless it according to the way he thinks it should be interpreted.

I just followed the link in your post and clicked some of the links; specifically “cases in the news” and became a little depressed/angry/incredulous. Just knowing that some of the terrible crimes going on in OC will result in less time for the perpetrators than a registrant would get for not registering, or having a candy bar around Halloween, or less time than a registrant would get for visiting his/her children. This madness is VERY disproportionate and needs to stop. They would probably give a 70 year old man with that cant remember his name or where he is life for forgetting to register. These peoples belief system is truly absurd.

@ Joe …. This is extremely disturbing!! WTH?! I guess if the OCDA office pretends to not know what ruling just took place on Friday … It makes them think it really didn’t happen! What bafoons!

Kangaroo court that courthouse in santa ana.

Funny that you should mention kangaroo court; when I was convicted a LA CO probation officer looked at me and said “congratulations, you’ve just been railroaded”. I was still too numb to give it much thought at the time. I still fume at what I was told, and the asst DA did a good job at candy coating what it meant to be on the registry. Said it would not impact my life in any way, shape or form. At the time I was ignorant at what was going on around me, just like the majority of the population and was so lazy I let others (news media, politicians, police, and I was handicapped by the fixed idea that nobody in any kind of public capacity would lie to the public) form my opinions and tell me what to think and what to believe. I was a lamb in a heard of sheeple. It is now getting so bad and things are so out of control (drunk with power) that the heard of sheeple has morphed into a heard of lemmings heading for the nearest cliff. They will realize it when they are affected, but by then it will be too late for them.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x