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FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHALLENGES SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ORDINANCE

A sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe is the subject of a lawsuit filed today in federal district court on behalf of a registered sex offender (“registered citizen”). This is the second in a series of lawsuits filed in federal court challenging city ordinances that include presence restrictions. The first lawsuit was filed on March 24 challenging a similar ordinance in the City of Pomona.

Both ordinances include restrictions regarding where more than 105,000 individuals can reside or be present. Specifically, the South Lake Tahoe ordinance prohibits registered citizens from residing or being present within 300 feet of a wide range of public and private locations including schools, parks, bus stops, arcades, and swimming pools. A registered citizen who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for a period of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of violation.

“The sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe violates both the federal and state constitutions,” stated CA RSOL President and attorney Janice Bellucci. “The South Lake Tahoe ordinance is based upon two myths: (1) that registered citizens have a high rate of re-offense and (2) that strangers commit most sexual assaults.”

The true rates of re-offense, according to state and federal government reports, are 1.8 percent for registrants on parole and 5.3 percent for registrants overall. More than 90 percent of sexual assaults upon children are committed not by strangers but by family members and others known by the children such as teachers, coaches, and clergy.

“The presence restrictions within the South Lake Tahoe ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeal which invalidated two ordinances – one in the City of Irvine and the other in Orange County – as being preempted by state law,” stated CA RSOL board member and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The court held that the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a registered sex offender’s daily life fully occupied the field.”

California RSOL sent a letter to South Lake Tahoe and more than 70 additional cities within California on January 20 notifying them of the recent Court of Appeal decisions and that the sex offender ordinances the cities had adopted were inconsistent with those decisions. California RSOL requested in those letters that the cities repeal their ordinances within 60 days or face a legal challenge.

Subsequent to issuance of the California RSOL letter, the cities of Costa Mesa and El Centro repealed their sex offender ordinances. Several additional cities, including Anaheim, Grand Terrace, and South Pasadena have agreed in writing not enforce their sex offender ordinances pending a decision from the California Supreme Court whether to grant review of the California Court of Appeal decisions. Prior to issuance of the California RSOL letter, the County of El Dorado repealed its sex offender ordinance.

“Future legal challenges by registered sex offenders can be expected of cities that have failed to either repeal their sex offender ordinances or agree in writing to stay enforcement of those ordinances,” stated Bellucci. “The lawsuit filed against South Lake Tahoe today is one in a series of such legal challenges.”

South Lake Tahoe Ordinance

Join the discussion

  1. nathan

    Way to go Janice!!

  2. Jason

    Does this mean as a registered citizen, I shouldn’t attend the wedding in Tahoe in which I am the best man this summer?

  3. Alienated

    I was waiting and hoping for this law suit. I love Tahoe, why should I not be able to enjoy nature and public places that I pay taxes for? Just like the Halloween ordinances that are passed there has never been one child harmed by a sex offender on Halloween just trying to scare the public into a hate frenzy. These politicians and law makers are nuts and it is time to put these ridiculous ordinances to bed once and for all. Now everyone send $100 to CARSOL.

    “Educate not Hate”

    • Q

      Hi Alienated:

      I have difficulty with the not hate part, as I hate lies, and these restrictions are based on lies, or if you want to be politically correct (which is BS), misinformation.

  4. Q

    Way to go Janice and Chance!!!!

    “They must find it difficult…those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.” – Gerald Massey

  5. Eric Knight

    Interesting history, has South Lake Tahoe. In a rather convoluted story, a woman was fired for reporting a sex offender, apparently several times, by the city. She had filed suit and got almost $50 grand in a settlement back on March 7. The registrant is apparently back in jail, and if it’s because of being near his child (his wife works with the kids at the place), then this law has pertinence for him in my opinion.

    http://www.laketahoenews.net/2014/03/slt-pays-ex-employee-multi-layered-lawsuit/

    The whole story is kinda whack, but it’s there.

    • G4Change

      WOW…this sucks!!!

      Check out this article: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/3799232-113/police-local-leadstories-leadstoriesivg

      He was arrested due to failure to register. If that’s the case, then he’s not directly being incarcerated due to being at that location. Rather, when the cops arrived and “ran” him he was found to not be compliant. Looks like he got hit with a federal probation violation.

      HOWEVER, according to the article, he was previously cited by the city because his residence was a violation of this bullsh*t law! Therefore, if the dots are connected, there is a STRONG possibility that this bullsh*t law FORCED this guy into being non-compliant thus triggering his Federal arrest.

      This might be worth looking into: Janice, et al. Just my two cents.

      • Janice Bellucci

        It looks like this article was published on May 27, 2011. If so, there may not be anything to do at this late date. I am open to suggestions.

  6. USA

    This is very disturbing! How can anyone be banned from a park, swimming pool, arcade or bus stop? What if you don’t own a car and rely on using the bus to get back and forth to work? Honestly, I’m both shocked and apalled any normal or intelligent city leader could suggest such laws! We have murderers, gang members, those convicted of driving drunk and killing someone with more rights! There are no other individuals with criminal histories who have such restrictions, unless on parole! This is sick, prejudicial and disturbing! Truly, could you fathom such laws 10 years ago? This is a very hateful law and creates hysteria and if I where the typical layman who knew nothing, I would think or feel all sex offenders are dangerous animals after seeing this law! It’s terrible! I recommend suing as you are doing, not backing down and you will prevail! This is no difference than the laws/rules instituted by Adolph Hitler! It’s propaganda and creates hatred and anger among society!

    • Q

      Hi USA:

      Check out the Nuremberg Laws and you will see how true some of your statements are. These are the laws enacted by the Nazi’s against the Jews and anyone else that wasn’t the way the Nazi’s thought they should be.

  7. trekatch

    I wish you could do the same thing in Texas. My son is on the list (deferred adjudication) and he is restricted from “going withing 1000 feet of any school, daycare, park, entertainment complex or any place where children may gather”. This means he cannot even drive by these places to get to work, go to the store. I.E. if he actually follows the law to letter he cannot even leave the house, to do so he has to pass the county orphanage, an elementary school, a church with a day care center. And that’s just to get 1/2 mile to work. In order to report to probation he has to pass by the church daycare and then another day care, since they built the probation dept. smack in the middle of a “red zone”. There is no way to travel ANYWHERE in the U.S. as you would pass by a McDonald’s on the highway which has a playground and that’s included in the restriction. How does that make sense?

    • Tim

      It doesn’t make any sense. What makes even less sense is the Judge sworn to uphold the Constitution who upholds instead these past offender segregation laws. We look back and wonder how courts once upheld Jim Crow, segregation and even slavery. Future citizens may look back in disbelief at how these presence laws were legitimized by the courts.

  8. David

    Has anyone considered that sex offenders cannot attend school board meetings as many are held on school campuses? How about attending the hundreds of churches that rent rooms on public school campuses or Jewish temples that are part of a school campus?

    • Joe

      Have you considered that many, if not most, voting places are in schools and as such, it is a crime for 290 registrants to exercise their most basic democratic right?

  9. cool rso guy

    YAY this law was removed!!

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