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

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.


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!!

This is a serious VICTORY

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.

@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!


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

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.

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 “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.

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.

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.

@ 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.