A sex offender ordinance adopted by Los Angeles County is the subject of a lawsuit filed today in federal district court on behalf of a registered sex offender (“registered citizen”). This is the 25th in a series of lawsuits challenging sex offender ordinances adopted by local governments.
“The California Court of Appeal ruled in January 2014 that city and county ordinances that restrict the presence of registered citizens are unlawful,” stated attorney Janice Bellucci. “Despite notice of more than eight months, Los Angeles County has failed to repeal or revise its unlawful ordinance.”
The Los Angeles County ordinance significantly restricts where registered citizens may be present. Specifically, the ordinance prohibits registered citizens from being present or within 300 feet of a wide range of public and private locations including parks, swimming pools, libraries, bus stops and commercial establishments that provide a child’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 for each day of violation.
“The presence restrictions within the Los Angeles County ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeal which invalidated two ordinances – one in the City of Irvine and the other in Orange County – as being preempted by state law,” stated CA RSOL board member and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The California Supreme Court denied review of these cases on April 23 and therefore it is established that the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life fully occupies the field.”
In addition to the lawsuit filed today against Los Angeles County, similar lawsuits have been filed against
- the City of Pomona (March 24),
- the City of South Lake Tahoe (March 31),
- National City (April 8),
- the City of Carson (April 11),
- the City of Lompoc (April 21),
- Sacramento County (April 30),
- Santa Ana (May 7),
- Wasco (May 15),
- Ontario (May 21),
- Stockton (May 27),
- Taft (May 29),
- Orange (June 17),
- Beaumont (June 24),
- Adelanto (July 21),
- Hesperia (July 24),
- Victorville (August 14),
- Westminster (August 29),
- South Pasadena (September 9),
- Canyon Lake (September 24),
- Commerce (October 2),
- Murrieta (October 9),
- San Bernardino County (October 15),
- Pico Rivera (October 22) and
- El Monte (October 24).
Of those lawsuits, 15 have been settled after the local government organization repealed or significantly revised its ordinance.
In addition to the cities listed above, 48 cities have repealed or revised their sex offender ordinances without being sued. The cities include Anaheim, Claremont, Elk Grove, Menifee and Twenty-nine Palms.
“Future legal challenges by sex offenders can be expected of local governments that have failed to repeal their sex offender ordinances which are unlawful,” stated Bellucci.