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Suits challenge sex offender laws

Lawyer and her reform group were prompted by recent appellate court ruling

A civil rights lawyer aiming to reform sex offender laws has started suing municipalities across California to force the removal of ordinances that bar sex offenders from many public facilities, including parks, swimming pools and bus stops.
Janice Bellucci, who practices in Santa Maria and is president of the group California Reform Sex Offender Laws, said the ordinances violate the state and federal constitutions.

On Friday, Bellucci sued Pomona in the Central District federal court in Los Angeles, and on Monday she sued South Lake Tahoe in the Eastern District. Bellucci said she also expects to bring lawsuits in California’s Northern and Southern federal districts.
The city attorney in South Lake Tahoe did not return a call for comment. The city attorney for Pomona could not be reached.
Bellucci’s actions through California Reform Sex Offender Laws were prompted by recent 4th District Court of Appeal decisions that struck down ordinances in the city of Irvine and in Orange County.

Justices from Division 3 of the panel said state law preempted the separate ordinances. Irvine’s law banned registered sex offenders whose crime involved a minor from visiting any city park or recreational facility where children are present unless the police chief permitted it. State law, the panel said, already imposes restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life and “fully occupies the field.”

Under state law, a sex offender on parole for an offense against a child under the age of 14 cannot enter a park that children regularly attend without the permission of his or her parole agent. Sex offenders also cannot go to schools “without lawful business” and written permission from the school. Only the decision involving Irvine’s ordinance was published.
After the appellate court decisions, Bellucci’s group sent a letter to 71 cities with similar ordinances to notify them of the appellate court decisions. The group requested that the cities repeal the ordinances within 60 days or they would face a legal challenge.
Following the letter, Bellucci said, Costa Mesa and El Centro repealed their ordinances. Other cities, including Anaheim, agreed to halt enforcement pending a decision by the state Supreme Court on whether it will review the appellate court decisions.
Representatives for Costa Mesa and El Centro could not be reached. A representative for Anaheim confirmed the city has suspended enforcement of the oridinance pending the high court’s ruling.

“Future legal challenges by 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,” Bellucci said in a statement.

By Hamed Aleaziz
Daily Journal Staff Writer
hamed_aleaziz@dailyjournal.com

Join the discussion

  1. Standing up

    Your voice (Janice ) at table is being hear !
    Doing something to change the situation.Being persistent and forceful .

  2. Brubaker

    Excellent exposure. .getting the word out. .creating for some the opportunity to help and file lawsuits on behalf of us on registry challenging injustice……the work here by Janice Bellucci and staff can inspire others to help…we appreciate it. . this registry is the example on how Not to treat people.

    • Karma-here

      You speak of “Injustice” as if it pertains to a Convicted Criminal? Injustice is what happens when a crime is committed and an appropriate sentence is NOT handed down to the “perpetrator”. This is the definition of “injustice”!! The least a Convicted Sex Offender can do is register as a SEX OFFENDER for the rest of their existence if they are NOT spending the rest of their life in a prison where they belong! Again I state, do not do the “Crime” if you can not do the “Time”

  3. oklahoma mom

    You all are fortunate to have this impassioned Ms. Bellucci working for you. There is so much that needs to be changed with the medieval laws.

  4. Karma-here

    I think the laws applied to the sex offenders need to be more sever! Relaxing them is a asking for more danger to our children and our society. Why should it be okay for a convicted, yes “CONVICTED” felon to commit a Federal Crime and be able to move on as if nothing ever happened? I really don’t care if it harms their life, a victim lives with the hurt, memories, fears, etc. for the rest of their life as so should the perpetrator! From a victims standpoint (who also has civil rights) it is a great privilege to know that they have to be registered as a warning to the world that they did commit a crime. I believe this to be true even if they so called “did their time”! As the old saying goes, don’t commit the crime if you cant do the time!

    • wonderin

      Obviously you see the registry as continued punishment and you are happy with that.
      You are not alone.

    • noname

      You seem to think that sex crimes are the only crime ever committed in this country. What the young person who gets killed by a gang gun shot, or a drunk driver, I am sure that those victims and families will suffer for the rest of their lives. But the person who committed the crime do their time and then released to continue their lives without being on any list. The same with drug dealers, bank robbery, or like the group that committed the armed home invasion at my home. No list or registry for them. No threat of a craze vigilant come to there home to harm him/her or their family. Education, treatment, should be the goal of the law makers not laws based on unfounded emotional feelings.

      • Karma-here

        It looks as if you “interpreted” my comment as only to pertain to “Sex Crimes” which is not the message. What was meant was, this is an active registry and I would like to see it stay that way. There are many “victims” of an array of “Crimes” however, this page is associated to CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS. Therefore this specific comment was based on that and that alone! If I were on a site for drunk drivers, or in your case a very different traumatic event and I sincerely pray that your get closure. I would probably have a relative comment to that crime. You should partition your state for such a registry of Convicted home invaders if you feel so strongly on it. Best of luck to you.

        • noname

          You state in your original post ” Why should it be okay for a convicted, yes “CONVICTED” felon to commit a Federal Crime and be able to move on as if nothing ever happened?” That tells me that you are only talking about all felons. What if the person was not charged of a felony? Dd you know a person can be put on the registry for taking a piss in an alley. Or mooning someone, there is one person that is fporce to register and he did not even commit a sex crime. Knowledge is power and it seem youneed to do more reasearch before you start condemning people.

    • mike

      @Karma
      What makes you say a registrant moves on as if nothing ever happened? I guess you’ve never done something you regret. Something that when you think about it, it makes you cringe. A certain amount of self loathing. You make it sound like people who’ve done something bad should to walk around with their worst moment in time tattooed on their forehead. How long does it take to commit sexual abuse? Less than a second? A lapse in judgement. And the statement we always hear how victims never recover or suffer for the rest of their life is absolute B.S. . Maybe in the most severe traumatic cases but not most cases, unless the victim chooses to be a “victim”. Most who choose to be a victim never confront their assailant which is an empowering part of recovery. It’s a path to forgiveness. I’ve been a victim of many horrible and unwarranted abuse of all sorts. I live with it.
      Do you honestly believe society has something to gain with all of these spiteful punishments they inflict on registrants and consequently their families? Do you think it will make registrants better people? We are simply people who want a chance to rejoin society and be productive law abiding citizens once again. For pride’s sake. Not the demons or monsters that the media and fear mongering politicians make us out to be.
      Unfortunately the world is full of bigotry where people are thrown into groups for simplification; usually using the worst case to set the example. If you sat in a room of registrants and heard their stories, from their crimes to what they’ve been through since then, you would learn they’re each very unique. But many people are unwilling to empathize with this group. Maybe not until everyone is related to or has a close friend on the registry will this perception start to change.

  5. Karma-here

    First of all, you may be a little confused. I am not sure if you are aware you are on a “SEX OFFENDER LAW” topic, which I believe was your original complaint on my statement, which you argued, was about other groups who committed a crime. Secondly your answer is in your 2nd issue is in your own question “What if the person was not charged of a felony?” to my response of “CONVICTED” as a felon, so yes knowledge is power. I stand firm on my original statement.

  6. karma-here

    @Mike,
    Let me start by saying that I am very angry in regards to this issue. There may be people on the “Registry” who truly do not belong there. However, there is an absolute need for this registry. Not all cases are a one time occurrence, or even a unfortunate event that someone feels bad about. This is a major problem that never seems to stop. I will not change my mind or continue to speak my opinion wherever and whenever possible regardless of the personal feeling of a “Registrant”! Obviously if you are on the list, chances are there was evidence to support the requirement. This is a “Fair” way to serve and protect the innocent and label for a lifetime the perpetrator. My name is not on the registry because the public needs not fear that I am an eminent threat to society as I have not inflicted myself upon anther! Yet everyday, I hear about these devastating cases and do not understand why the punishments are not harsher! If you have never been a victim of a sexual “Attack” you should probably refrain from throwing around the phrase of ” And the statement we always hear how victims never recover or suffer for the rest of their life is absolute B.S.” I do not know your story, and you do not know mine. I will continue to speak out on this issue and continue to fight to insure that “Convicted Perpetrators” have a registry requirement for “LIFE”!!!

    • wonderin

      Oh, give it a break and get over yourself. Grow up and realize that the world is not all about you. People are not perfect and neither are you. we move on or we stagnate in our own hate and discourse. Jeez!

    • Tim

      Thank you for commenting. I understand your anger, because I was a victim of abuse, although, I am not assuming you were. At the time I harboured a secret hate for him, which defined our relationship. Avoiding speaking to him was my revenge at the time, and I think it did a lot of damage to him and me. But I can’t imaging how labeling the man “perpetrator” and having him suffer for the rest of his life would have made anything better. Like most abuses it occurred in the family circle and didn’t involve overt violence. He died a horrible death with a breathing tube down his throat because he spent his life smoking and drinking to excess and didn’t even feed himself for many years. I take no joy in anyone suffering. If I did, I would probably be harming others right now. Besides, I can remember all the good qualities he had and I can put his life in perspective, which is empowering. The best approach would have been to bring abuse out in the open and to seek healing and reconciliation for all the parties involved, and to avoid the public spectacle that does more harm than good.
      If there was a public registry at the time I think it would just have been another reason to keep things secret. It keeps abuse secret, because the fear of going through the public shaming process scares people into denial, and keeps people from getting the help they need.
      The justice system was fair to me. Probation officers, lawyers, psycologists, prosecutors, the judge did the best they knew how to restore balance. Everyone deserves due process. It is a hallmark of or civilization. The Meagan’s law process takes that individual consideration away and punishes people wholesale at the whim of a public that has been misinformed and driven to a frenzy by the media’s portrayal of rare but horrendous child murders. Some on the registry have not even committed a sex act. Others are actually innocent, but have been forced into plee deals under circumstancual evidence. All are treated as the worst of the worst of the worst.
      My “victim” forgave me, unsolicited and out of the blue one day. It changed nothing of what happened nor the painful memories of the event. It did tell me that she was not going to let the event define who I was or who she wanted to be.
      How can you be judge and jury over her or me? What do you know of the individuals affected by the registry? I’ve offered here a personalized analysis of my views on the registry. I suggest you delve into the deep seated source of your anger.

  7. karma-here

    Just because I state my opinion does not mean I need to get over myself. The world in not perfect, if it was there would be no need for “Sex Offender Registration” Choke on that!

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