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South Pasadena Ordinance Challenged in Federal Court

A sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Pasadena has been challenged in a lawsuit filed today in federal district court on behalf of a registered citizen.

“The lawsuit was filed today because the City of South Pasadena Police Department recently arrested a registered citizen who did not live in that city, but who chose to visit a park in that city,” stated California RSOL president Janice Bellucci. “The City did so despite the fact that the City Council instructed city staff on February 19 not to enforce the city’s sex offender ordinance. Either the City Council has decided to defy recent court decisions or the police department has chosen to disregard the city council’s instructions.”

This is the 18th such lawsuit to be filed since March 24. All 18 lawsuits challenge city and/or county ordinances that prohibit registered citizens from being present in public and/or private locations.

The South Pasadena ordinance includes restrictions regarding where registered citizens can be present or reside. Specifically, the ordinance prohibits registered citizens from being present or residing within 300 feet of public libraries, parks, bus stops, schools and commercial establishments that provide a children’s playground. An individual who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

“The sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of South Pasadena violates both the federal and state constitutions,” stated California RSOL Vice President and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The city’s ordinance is also inconsistent with a recent appellate court decision which determined in January 2014 that a similar ordinance, in the City of Irvine, was preempted by state law. The California Supreme Court denied review of that decision more than four months ago — in April 2014.”

Also see:

Sex offender arrested for loitering in South Pasadena park
South Pasadena agrees not to enforce city’s presence restrictions (CA RSOL)

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There were four federal lawsuits filed against cities, I remember Cypress was one of them. As far as I know, those were dropped in light of promises not to enforce based on the Appellate ruling. Right now these laws are being tossed out because of state Constitutional issues. It sounds like THIS lawsuit has to do with the city promising not to take action to avoid a lawsuit, and then went against that promise, not challenging the law itself federally. I would presume the federal / US Constitution card will eventually have to be played when cities like Carson and… Read more »

No, it not too late for this guy. 1st question is.. When did City of South Pasadena has agreed not to enforce its presence restrictions which prohibited all registered citizens from “loitering” in the city’s parks, library, school bus stops, restaurants with children’s playground, etc.? Answer February 24 2014 2nd question. When was the guy arrested? about : 09/08/14 3rd question. What is this lawsuit about? This lawsuit is about” the City Council has decided to defy recent court decisions or the police department has chosen to disregard the city council’s instructions.” In other word the guy you posted is… Read more »

So what happens to a city when it breaks a binding agreement?

This city did not break a binding agreement. They merely sent a letter stating that they had decided unilaterally not to enforce their ordinance. The fact is that California RSOL relied upon this statement and chose not to file a lawsuit against the city earlier because of it.

I see. So they could have delayed the lawsuit indefinitely if they kept their word.

No, they should have repealed or revised their ordinance to be consistent with state law. The stay of enforcement was a temporary, not a permanent, solution.

Was it temporary until the State Supreme Court refused to hear the case? If so what role does the Attorney general’s office play in acting on the disregard of State law shown by the cities after that fact? Does CaRsol have to file a lawsuit with each city or an RSO have to get arrested before the ordinances are repealed? Yes, court costs will be recovered, but it looks to me that the State executive branch is ignoring its judicial branch’s decisions. Thank you for answering my questions. I’m sure I am not alone in being confused by all of… Read more »

So what happens to a city when it breaks a binding agreement?

I think we are about to find out what happens REALLY SOON!

Just to be clear. The man arrested may or may not file a lawsuit regarding his arrest.
The lawsuit that was filed is on behalf of all California Registrants.
Thank you Janice

I hope he does file a lawsuit.
but WOW! this does make my head spin!!

You know what?

Because of this city, I lose trust of ALL cities that say that they aren’t going to enforce this.

I’m not going to believe any cities that say they aren’t going to enforce it unless they DO take those ordinance restrictions off their law books.

You know; it’s really sad when you have to sue people that are supposedly grown adults because they apparently need to be forced to keep their word; and I don’t think I even need to mention obeying and respecting state law.

This guy was arrested based on a law that is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and is PREEMPTED by state law. This has already been ruled as such by a higher court. I hope the City of South Pasadena has their checkbook handy. They’re gonna need it! And, I hope the people of South Pasadena know that their money is being spent unnecessarily.
Let this be a lesson that even the law is not above the law!!!

What this is saying now if a registrant goes in their parks they (the registrant) can have a win-fall given to them via law suit if arrested. Is that right? Why go look for gold if it can be found inside one of their parks? Hmmm….

Maybe RSO should go to those other cities’s park and find out how SERIOUS they are on this..
I wouldn’t do this with out couple friends around me to video all this.

This is truly a disturbing article. They don’t require sex offenders to report to the local jail at night? What about placing neon lights at their homless shelters or in front of their homes? Have the sex offenders affected by this legit (LOL) law been implanted with the computer chip ? I’m now 19 years over my legal issue. The charges have all been expunged and I had received summary probation? If this garbage keeps up, I will be required to carry an ipad with me anytime I travel so I know what city does what? This is a joke?

Sounds like the City of SP agreed to hold off on enforcement (pursuant to the ‘agreement’ in the letter) WHILE the Nguyen case was pending – between the decision by the CA Court of Appeals (Jan 2014) and the decision to review or not by the CA Supreme Court (April 2014). Once the SC declined to review the case the Appellate Court decision became final and it removed all room for interpretation and discretion by the City of SP and thus rendered the promise to not enforce the ordinance immaterial as, at that point, the ordinance was illegal and void… Read more »

An advisory letter may now have to be sent to the cities who had kept their ordinances, but promised not to enforce the ordinance while the litigation in the state was pending. Obviously, South Pasadena screwed it up for everyone by defying their own agreement, and now other cities are looking on at this blatant disregard. I wonder what will happen if Lancaster or Hesperia or Orange decided to breach their non-enforcement agreements?

Lancaster repealed their entire ordinance regarding both presence and residency restrictions although they kept a small Halloween ordinance. Hesperia and Orange revised their ordinances to make them consistent with state law.

I have to think the stay of enforcement was agreed on by the city council and mayor, But my experience has been that communications between government entities sucks completely. likely a case of no one informing LE about the change in policy. I had my annual registration two weeks ago here in RivCo at the local Sheriff office. I live in an unincorporated area and had many questions to ask the registration officer this year after seeing all the articles how the county board of supervisors repealed their presence restrictions and Halloween restrictions. I was met with denial. They had… Read more »

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