A sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of Orange is the subject of a lawsuit filed today in federal district
court. The lawsuit was filed after the City Council of Orange considered, but failed, to repeal its ordinance on June 10.
The City of Orange’s ordinance is broad and includes restrictions regarding where more than 105,000 individuals can be present. Specifically, the ordinance prohibits registered citizens from being present in or within 500 feet of a wide range of locations including the public library, schools, parks, swimming pools, bus stops and playgrounds. The Ordinance also prohibits registered citizens from staying in most hotels or motels within the city limits. A registered citizen who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for a period of one year and/or a fine of $1,000.
“The City Council members of Orange, with the exception of Mayor Smith, acted without courage or common sense when they failed to repeal an ordinance which violates both the federal and state constitutions,” stated CA RSOL President and attorney Janice Bellucci. “Those council members are wasting taxpayer dollars by ignoring recent relevant court decisions.”
The City of Orange ordinance is based upon the myth that the recidivism rate of convicted sex offenders is nearly half. 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.
“The presence restrictions within the City of Orange’s ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeals which invalidated two ordinances – one by the City of Irvine and the other by the County of Orange – as being preempted by existing state law,” stated CA RSOL Vice President and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The court held that the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life fully occupied the field.”
California SOL sent a series of letters to the City of Orange and more than 70 additional ciies in California starting on January 20 notifying them of the recent Court of Apeal decisions and that the sex offender ordinances the cities had adopted
were inconsistent with those decisions. California RSOL requested that the cities repeal their ordinances or face a potential legal challenge.
Subsequent to issuance of the California RSOL letters, a total of 26 cities have repealed or revised their sex offender ordinances. The cities include Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Galt, Laguna Hills, Santee and Tustin.
“Future legal challenges by sex offenders can be expected of cities that have fail to repeal or revise their sex offender ordinances,” stated Bellucci. “The lawsuit filed against Lompoc today is the twelfth in a series of such legal challenges.”
Following is a list of the first 11 lawsuits and the dates on which they were filed. All lawsuits have been filed in federal district court.
- Pomona – March 24
- South Lake Tahoe – March 31
- National City – April 8
- Carson – April 11
- Lompoc – April 21
- Sacramento County – April 30
- Santa Ana – May 7
- Wasco – May 15
- Ontario – May 21
- Stockton – May 27
- Taft – May 29