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

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

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….

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 in and by itself.

In essence, the City of SP arrested this guy illegally. All there is to it.

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?

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 no idea what I was talking about. I gave up after realizing the officer was clueless. It’s not my job to educate them. I’m not much on Halloween activities, but I will admit the thought crossed my mine to decorate and hand out treats to see if they would arrest me. I could use a little extra cash.
When the emergency Halloween ordinance passed several years ago, two days later I had 2 sheriffs officers in flak vests show up at my door at 9pm to personally deliver me a copy of the new ordinance. I was on parole and it was already a stipulation for me, so I couldn’t relate to the sense of urgency I guess I should have. It just pissed me off because I was sleeping.
I’m willing to bet this case in So. Pasadena is just another incidence where they didn’t get the memo. It’s a shame, I have the feeling this is going to cost them plenty. I feel sorry for the guy who was terribly embarrassed by having his name and photo posted in the papers. Unfortunately the next time he’s in the paper it will probably read “Sex Offender wins judgement for false arrest.” and his picture and name will follow somewhere in the article again to degrade him below human status.