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Stockton Sex Offender Ordinance Challenged in Federal Court

The City of Stockton’s sex offender ordinance was challenged today in federal district court.  The ordinance prohibits all registered citizens from loitering in or within 300 feet of public parks, libraries, and swimming pools as well as privately owned video arcades and recreational areas.

“This is the tenth ordinance to be challenged in ten weeks,” stated CA RSOL president Janice Bellucci.  “It is our hope that all cities and counties that have similar ordinances will soon choose to repeal their ordinances which violate both the state and federal constitutions.”

The first lawsuit in the series of ten lawsuits filed which challenge city or county ordinances was a challenge against the City of Pomona (March 24).  The next eights lawsuits to be filed challenged ordinances adopted by the City of South Lake Tahoe (March 31), National City (April 4), Carson (April 11), Lompoc (April 21), Sacramento County (April 30), Santa Ana (May 7), Wasco (May 16), and Ontario (May 21).

Settlement negotiations, which include repeal of the challenged ordinance and attorneys fees, have begun with three of the ten cities against whom lawsuits have been filed.  In addition, more than 20 cities including Anaheim, Tustin, El Centro, Porterville, and Claremont have repealed or agreed to repeal their sex offender ordinances without being sued.

Join the discussion

  1. G4Change

    I can’t believe there are still more cities to sue! Are they THAT stupid as to not back own by now?
    I hope Janice et al are able to rack up tons of attorney fees for ALL of their hard work in ths fight! This isn’t about the money, but in the America I support, hard work and diligence = reward!
    Thank you Janice and everyone for keeping the fire burning!

    • Eric Knight

      I agree. I hope that the work performed by Janice and Chance can be duplicated in other states as well. The Dallas RSOL conference should provide for an excellent forum for inviting other legal professionals from around the country to essentially copy what Janice is doing, and tailor it to their own state’s sex offender issues. The attorey fees involved in conducting these lawsuits could help create some hungry, constitutional-minded lawyer action!

    • cool rso guy

      I think there are 50? correct me if I m wrong.. half way there!!

      • Janice Bellucci

        When we started, there were a total of 71 cities and 6 counties that had ordinances which restricted the presence of registered citizens.

  2. Robert Curtis

    Never underestimate the power of stupid. These moronic laws violate the rights of the registrant’s child and their right to have their first line of safety (their parents) with them in parks and other public places. Children often get hurt in parks but rarely to never do registrants act out in parks. Where is the real risk? Oh, but because it’s the registrant’s child put at risk that is somehow okay. Really?

  3. Roadster

    What is the legality of the “Halloween laws” that some citys have for rso’s?

    • cool rso guy

      one city required “RSO live here” every halloween and Janice and her team I believe have sued and won. I forgot which city that was…

      • Janice Bellucci

        We stopped the City of Simi Valley from requiring all registered citizens to post a sign on the front door of their home on Halloween in 2012. We did the same in the City of Orange in 2013. There are no more cities requiring signs on Halloween!

    • Michael

      It seems they can required you to do what anyone else might do (what my parents did) if they don’t want kids bugging them on Halloween. Keep your house dark in front and don’t hand out candy.

      What they cannot do is make you do extra stuff that most people would not routinely do, and thus have that ID you as an RSO. For example, Orange use to have you hang out a sign that said “no candy here” or some such.

      But you know, it seems to me, if you are a parent and you are THAT concerned. then you’d just go on the Megan’s Law site for the neighborhood your kid is to be trick-or-treating in and see who lives where and skip that house anyway.

  4. Michael

    What does Stockton mean by “loitering”? Orange has a similar ordinance, but if you have legitimate business in the parks, even if its just sitting in your car in the shade reading a book, they don’t seem to care.

    • B

      There are various definitions of loitering. In some cases it is being idle or without purpose for a period of time. In other cases, it is being in a location for the purpose of committing a sex crime (I understand why that would be illegal for sex offenders, but why is it ok for someone else?)

  5. j

    The loitering law should apply equally to anyone regardless of any previous contact with the criminal justice system if they are to be effective.

    These laws are unconstitutional because they presume guilt when a specific crime has not occurred; only the belief that a crime may occur. Similar to what Bobby Kennedy spoke about in one of his trips to the central valley way back when as he suggested to the county sheriff that reading the constitution on the lunch break would be a very worthwhile expenditure of time…

    If they claim they do not presume guilt, then they are applying ex post facto punishment.

    Either way, they are fundamentally unconstitutional.

    • Janice Bellucci

      A major problem with all presence restrictions is their “chilling effect” which keeps registered citizens from visiting all cities, not just cities with presence restrictions. That is why they ALL must go!

      • Tim

        Chilling is a good word for it. I often feel paralyzed by these rules and prefer to stay home. These regulations are not like clear mandates. For example, if the speed limit says 65, you know at what point you are breaking the law. Registration is like having no sign or one that says speed limit may range from 30 to 65 depending on the opinion of the officer in the patrol car hidden in the bushes somewhere. Instead of a ticket, you get years in prison if you make the wrong choice. So you drive through the rest of your life at 30 MPH, or risk the penalties and simply do what is resonable and safe, yet what may also be determined illegal, or you drive not at all.

        • Anonymous

          Heh, but there’s also a law for going slower than everyone else which you’ve just violated! Lose-Lose trap.

      • j

        That is IMPLICIT punishment or harassment, which is the tool of choice for those who use these actions of inaction to subjugate people under laws based on hyperbolic premises.

  6. Tim

    San Diego county has a similar loitering law. I don’t know what is its purpose. Another way to scare you away from using public space, I guess. To paraphrase the legal dictionaries it means hanging around a place with the intent to commit a crime. Like the equally vague annoying a child ordinances, its purpose seems to be to make it easier to get the registered citizen into jail without having proof of wrongdoing. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. A criminal with any intent to commit a crime in a public space is not going to stand around obviously looking like they are going to commit a crime. Savvy?

  7. Robert Curtis

    The restrictions within the registry (add on laws) are by design meant to intimidate and to push registrants either to violate thereby being re-incarcerated or forced to hide in obscurity. As a parent it is not humanly possible to be completely (by the letter of the law) compliant at all times and still be an involved parent. So, what is done as a parent? Well as per design we cow-down quietly to every situation in fear that their child might not be singled out because of their status.

    Fear and terrorism are alive and well here in the land of the FREE and home of the brave. Laws are forms of pressure: Laws=pressure to keep the herd going in a certain direction. If a cow is outside of the herd laws are used to either incarcerate him, fine him or kill and Bar-BQ him to keep the criminal injustice system fed and growing. The media feeds fear to the people to keep them controlled and uninformed even religious leaders feed into it as does our educational system. Just a few observations to think about.

  8. Robert Curtis

    Sometimes it takes the fish getting out of the water to see that water exist or you can’t see the trees until you are out of the forest. Simon Black is a guy that lives as a world traveler and educator. We would do well to listen to his out of the box views. The sex offender registry is one of several mechanisms of control that has the whole USA tied down. I get his e-letter updates, they are enlightening:

  9. cool rso guy

    Here’s my vlog in ASL on what’s going on with CA RSOL park lawsuit
    http://youtu.be/VYPbo5R3gUw

    if you have other deaf people pass it on
    thanks

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