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San Bernardino County to pare down sex-offender ordinance

Registered sex offenders in San Bernardino County will be able to move more freely within their communities after the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved repealing restrictions on offender presence and movement in the county’s unincorporated areas.

The gutting of the county’s 8-year-old sex offender ordinance would fulfill the terms of a legal settlement between the county and civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci, reached in December. Full Article

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  1. Q

    Right-on Janice! 🙂

    “The gutting of the county’s 8-year-old sex offender ordinance would fulfill the terms of a legal settlement between the county and civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci, reached in December.”

    Should those of us that live in the county’s unincorporated areas be concerned about the below statement?

    “The county will now push for legislation that would allow California counties and cities to impose their own, more stringent ordinances and not be bound solely by state law. It would essentially allow the county to reinstate the provisions of the ordinance it has been forced to repeal due to an appellate court ruling last year.”

    I’m not really concerned about the residency restrictions; but can I be arrested if I forget to turn off the front porch light on halloween?

    “Provisions of the county ordinance that prohibit registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a day-care center or park and within a half mile of a school will remain intact, as well as a provision prohibiting offenders from participating in Halloween activities.”

    I’m not on parole or probation, but are these residency restrictions going to be addressed at some point in time?

  2. G4Change

    “Though he is not a registered sex offender, Williams said his probation officer determined in October he was in violation of his probation because he had his porch lights on on Halloween night. He was subsequently arrested and spent 63 days in jail.”

    Are you freaking kidding me???? So now they think they can just apply these rules to ANYONE on probation??? This is insane!

    • G4Change

      “It is up to the Sheriff’s Department to decide if it will continue enforcing the ordinance in its original form until the revised one takes effect, county spokesman David Wert said.”

      They’ll be paying Janice’s salary for years to come if they’re stupid enough to enforce the law after all of this. What a moronic statement!

      • cool CA RSO

        “Mr. Sheriff you are arresting me for leaving the porch light on on Halloween night”
        hold on (pick up cellphone click speed dial to Janice or her staff)
        Here Sheriff, someone wants to talk to you….

  3. Ron

    Janice, I’m confused. I thought the Holloween restrictions were also found to be unenforceable. Are all the restrictions that they said are still in effect what you agree to?

    I sure wish the Sherrif would enforce the current law and arrest someone for these illegal laws that they are rescinding in the “future”. Just so you can teach them a lesson and make more settlement cash to fund our cause. (Although I hate the idea that someone would have to be arrested and have their lives disrupted unjustly).

  4. David

    Yeah, I liked that line, “It’s up to the Sheriff’s Department to decide ….”. Really?? Because it sure sounds to me like the Courts have already decided!
    Three cheers for Janice!

  5. Steve Williams

    My name is Steve Williams. This is my Story:
    I took a plea in May 2011 for PC273. I was placed on 4 years Probation and NOT required to be a Registered sex offender. Each year in September at our regular monthly check-in (usually 2 Wednesday of the month) behind the probation department on Arrowhead ave in downtown San Bernardino we are given a piece of paper outlining what we can and cannot do on Halloween, Oct. 31, from 4PM until 6AM the following day.
    1: Stay inside your residence.
    2: No Outside Halloween decorations
    3: No Exterior lights on.
    4: Exterior doors remain closed unless directed by a Law Enforcement Officer to open them.
    & This year additionally added;
    5. No Interior decorations

    I inadvertently misplaced this letter sometime later, probably due to my disabled wife of 45 years having her second knee replacement on October 9, and a subsequent emergency room visit for it becoming infected and immensely swollen with severe pain. As a result when Halloween arrived I couldn’t find the letter, but since I had been through these Halloween restriction for the prior 3 years I relied on my past experience to not violate, not knowing the Interior Decorations had been added this year. Around 9PM on Halloween night I noticed High Beam headlights shinning on my front window curtains and peered out to see the Probation Officer walking up to my front door. I heard him come up the stairs to the door and I opened the inside door, leaving the outside door closed. After he identified himself he asked if I knew the exterior decorative (Malibu low voltage) lights were on? I said, “No I did not. I thought the Timer/Transformer had been unplugged.” Upon peering out my door I saw it had been plugged in (by my son who had stopped by after it became dark and noticed the stairs were not lighted and plugged the timer back in). The Officer then came into my front room and noticed our Cornucopia with a small 4 inch uncarved pumpkin in it, from our garden, and said I had violated the “No Interior” decoration ban!
    He then told me to report on Monday, November 3rd to the Probation Department which I did and was immediately arrested there in front of my very upset and still recovering wife who needed my help.
    72 hours later I had “Video Court” arraignment which set a Court Hearing for December 9th at which time the Probation Department’s report was presented to the Court by ADA Choi which recommended 4 years of State Prison for my Violation.
    I of course was shocked. I asked the Public Defender, “They want me to go to State Prison for leaving my Outside Lights On!” OH YES! Furthermore, There was No Evidence presented such as a photo or video showing any violation. All that is necessary to violate a Probationer is the Verbal testimony of the Officer! I was advised I had 2 choices. Plead Guilty and Take a Deal or Plead Not Guilty, have a trial date set within 45 days, and be found guilty and go to State Prison because there would be no defense as it would be based on the Officer’s testimony.
    The Public Defender, the ADA, and the Judge had discussed my case (out of my earshot at the Bench) and the Judge said State Prison was too harsh a sentence and agreed to give me credit for time served, and an additional 60 days at half time (30 days added in total to time served) and reinstate my probation with an ending date of July 2015. I Took the Deal and Pleaded Guilty! I was released at 2AM on January 5, 2015.
    While in West Valley Detention Center, on December 26, I read an article by Joe Nelson on the Front page of the San Bernardino Sun Newspaper, about Jice Bellucci successfully suing to get the County to revise the very restrictive County Ordinance on Registered Sex Offender’s and I realized what I had been arrested for did not apply to me as I am Not a Registered Sex Offender!
    Upon being released I immediately contacted Joe Nelson and now you know my story.
    As I stated at the January 27 County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, I live in fear of being wrongfully Violated again by this County’s overly zealous Probation Department.
    I suggested once the Supervisor’s pass an Ordinance, they do followup investigations, to ensure the law is being legally and lawfully enforced to prevent unjustified actions taking place as it did in my case.
    I don’t know what else to do? I do not want anyone else to go through what I did.

    • Mjk

      Thank you for sharing these experiences with us Steve. And thank you for attending the SB County meeting and speaking up. All the best to you and your family.

    • Harry

      Sue for unlaw arrest and imprisonment.

    • G4Change

      Steve: Thank you for sharing this story. I’m sick just from reading it.
      I’m so sorry for everything you and your wife have gone through. Thank you for standing up and telling your story.

    • Timmr

      If your son or someone else broke his leg because he could not see the path in the dark I would have them file suit against the police department.

  6. Someone who cares

    Steve. That is a very sad and scary story. I can’t believe they arrest and ask questions later. I was also under the assumption that a “violation” has to be willful, and that was clearly not the case here. I am curious to see what Janice has to say about this.

  7. JM

    Steve-
    I am a board member and I intend to bring this subject matter up at our next board meeting.

  8. Steve Williams

    Thank you.

  9. Avig

    WELL—–does San Bernardino County want to obey the law? Or do they just want to continue finding new ways to persecute people who have already “paid the price”?

    There is no perfect way to prevent future bad behavior. But the SOMB board is doing a very good job, and the best thing right now is to support their recommendations, even if they are not perfect. If counties have different ideas or new suggestions, they should present them to the SOMB for evaluation and action (if any) as appropriate.

  10. R. Barrett

    Well, here is my story. I have lived in California all my life. In 2013, I went to South Carolina for a visit and at the age of 22, kissed a girl I thought was over 18 but she was only 13 seen on camera. We were in a business center at an apartment complex and even to be in there you must be 16 years old if you are unsupervised. I was arrested for lewd conduct, although there was nothing sexual and no attempt force. My attorney told me that the most I could get was a misdemeanor probation and no jail time. It took two years for the case to get settled and during that time I was back home in Calif working, got engaged and had a baby. Well in August 2015, I flew back to SC for my plea misdemeanor plea deal. Well, that was not the deal. Instead the offer was felony battery, 3 years probation and sex offender registry or trial which would cost another $10,000 and possible jail time. I just wanted to get back to my job, my fiancé and my daughter so I took the deal because I was told probation would be transfer to California. I came back home for one week and an agent from the parole office came to investigate my living arrangements. Because I was near a school, about .5 miles and because my 14 year old neice has been living with us, for eight years, Calif. rejected the transfer. I was ordered back to SC and have now lost my judge and hungry and homeless in South Carolina. I have no family here, cannot find a job or any help. No one cares. Everything has been destroyed because I did a non violent act at the age of 22. I am now 25. My family in California has consistently reached out to CDCc to determine what are the requirements that I must satisfy to get me back to California but they don’t return your call. Even the Probation officer in South Carolina stated she has called to get the requirements and they will not call her back either.
    I am just lost in SC and cannot come back home. It is sad that these restrictions can be so destructive to someone who had a few moments of stupidity that was non violent, did not hurt anyone and who paid a heavy price by pleading to a felony. We even paid for the evaluation by a top notch sex offender expert who did all the tests and reported that there is no chance that I would re offend and that it was the act of an immature 22 year old

    Thank you
    Alone and homeless in South Carolina

  11. R. Barrett

    Well, here is my story. I have lived in California all my life. In 2013, I went to South Carolina for a visit and at the age of 22, kissed a girl I thought was over 18 but she was only 13 seen on camera. We were in a business center at an apartment complex and even to be in there you must be 16 years old if you are unsupervised. I was arrested for lewd conduct, although there was nothing sexual and no attempt force. My attorney told me that the most I could get was a misdemeanor probation and no jail time. It took two years for the case to get settled and during that time I was back home in Calif working, got engaged and had a baby. Well in August 2015, I flew back to SC for my plea misdemeanor plea deal. Well, that was not the deal. Instead the offer was felony battery, 3 years probation and sex offender registry or trial which would cost another $10,000 and possible jail time. I just wanted to get back to my job, my fiancé and my daughter so I took the deal because I was told probation would be transfer to California. I came back home for one week and an agent from the parole office came to investigate my living arrangements. Because I was near a school, about .5 miles and because my 14 year old neice has been living with us, for eight years, Calif. rejected the transfer. I was ordered back to SC and have now lost my judge and hungry and homeless in South Carolina. I have no family here, cannot find a job or any help. No one cares. Everything has been destroyed because I did a non violent act at the age of 22. I am now 25. My family in California has consistently reached out to CDCc to determine what are the requirements that I must satisfy to get me back to California but they don’t return your call. Even the Probation officer in South Carolina stated she has called to get the requirements and they will not call her back either.
    I am just lost in SC and cannot come back home. It is sad that these restrictions can be so destructive to someone who had a few moments of stupidity that was non violent, did not hurt anyone and who paid a heavy price by pleading to a felony.

    Thank you
    Alone and homeless in South Carolina

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