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Grover Beach Ordinance challenged in Federal Court

A lawsuit was filed today in federal district court challenging an ordinance recently adopted by the City of
Grover Beach.   The ordinance prohibits California sex offenders (“registrants”) from living within 2,000 feet of any school, park, or day care center.  This is the first lawsuit to be filed challenging a city’s residency restrictions after the California Supreme Court’s decision which declared such restrictions unconstitutional.

Civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci filed the lawsuit on behalf of Frank Lindsay, who has resided in Grover Beach for 18 years.   According to Bellucci, the city’s residency restrictions effectively “banish” registrants from Grover Beach and violate the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff Lindsay is also the victim of a violent vigilante attack in 2010 at his Grover Beach home during which he suffered serious wounds.  Due to that attack, Lindsay desires to move from his current residence and establish a new residence in Grover Beach.

In the lawsuit, Bellucci states that the ordinance imposes burdens on the families of registrants, does not protect children, fails to provide sufficient notice to registrants, and is “a politically motivated act… in response to popular sentiments, based upon misinformation, which seeks retribution against ‘a socially outcast minority.’”

The lawsuit states that, of the land parcels in Grover Beach that are not included in the residency restrictions (about three percent of the city), “well over half of that land is zoned ‘Retail Commercial,’ ‘Open Space,’ ‘Urban Reserve,’ or some other non-residential use” leaving registrants with very few, if any, locations in which to reside.  Combined with landlords’ reluctance to house registrants, many would go homeless.  According to findings of the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB), homeless registrants pose a greater risk and utilize more law enforcement resources than registrants with residences and employment.

Penalties for a single violation of the new Grover Beach law include “a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment for up to one year or both” and additional offenses – one-per-day – if a registrant has not relocated after thirty days of notification.

To justify the new restrictions, the Grover Beach City Council relied upon false information including that “sex offenders have recidivism rates as high as forty-five percent.”  This information is inconsistent with state and federal government statistics which state that registrants on parole re-offend at a rate of only 1.8% and 5.3% overall.

A recently released CASOMB report cites Dr. Karl Hanson, the preeminent researcher of sex offenses, stating that a registered citizen who has not re-offended in 17 years is no more likely to commit a sex offense than someone who has never been convicted of a sex offense.  In Lindsay’s case, that time period has expired.

The California Supreme Court recently decided that residency restrictions could not be applied to all registered citizen on parole because their blanket application violated the U.S. Constitution.  Specifically, the Court ruled that residency restrictions may not be imposed in a manner that deprives registrants of their liberty interests, including the right to be free from arbitrary, oppressive, and unreasonable laws that bear no rational relationship to the state’s goal of protecting residents.  (Taylor, 60 Cal. 4th 1019, 1042)

Subsequent to the Court’s decision, the County of Riverside as well as the Cities of Downey and El Monte have begun the repeal of their residency restrictions.

Related Media

Lawsuit Filed against Grover Beach for City Ordinance – keyt
Grover Beach sued for sex offender restrictions – Santa Maria Times

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Finally… the venue of the person in which it first started…FRANK’S HOME! Congratulations.

In addition, by involving the Northern District Court, CA RSOL probably has the unique distinction of having different cases pending in all four California Federal Circuit courts at the same time, with not a loss in the bunch. Double Congratulations!

Here is the man who continues to take one for the team – this time in his own home town.

I have met Frank Lindsay – and am honored to have done so. Hey Frank, come live next to me any day!

All the best wishes to Janice and Frank. Let us all hope & pray for a clear, direct, unequivocal ruling by this Federal court stating that residency restrictions are unconstitutional. Unconstitutional!! Period!

Is there a case number..I would like to read it….is there anyway to link that lawsuit document to read..?…thank you.

This lawsuit was filed in the Central District of California, U.S. District Court, and the case number is 2:15-cv-04577. I will provide individuals with a copy of the case if they request it by E-mail at

First and foremost, I’m glad he is okay. In addition, he certainly lives in a nice area, probably pays a lot of taxes, paid his debt to society and yet people are continuing to punish him. I hope you win BIG TIME!!!

Is it true that frank sold over 1.75 million copies of his book? I’m just curious because that is what it seems to state on amazon. If so great because he truely deserves to be compensated and honored as a true patriot and real soldier for the cause. I don’t know if I could be able to put myself out there like he does. It takes great strength and hopefully he is finaincialy secure so as not needing to ever work again. Once again THANK YOU FRANK your a true American.

According to Frank, the number of books sold is far less than 1 million and therefore he is keeping his day job. For those who don’t know, the title of his book is “We’re All in This Together” and it is available on Amazon books. It is Frank’s book that educated me about the plight of registered citizens and inspired me to create California RSOL.

Go get them !!
Thanks , Janice & Frank

Frank is one BRAVE soul! All us 290’s owe our freedom to him. I hope he can win one that will actually pay compensatory damages.

I don’t understand why frank hasn’t filed for injunction relief based on the fact that there is no rational basis to require him to register anymore he is the perfect candidate to challenge the registry since he is such an upstanding citizen and has been arrest free for over thirty years there is no rational basis to continue to subject him to this unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive official action. I don’t see how a court could conclude otherwise. Am I missing something.

Our client, who had been convicted of statutory rape and indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 over twenty years ago, came to us having been classified as a Level Two offender in 2003, over a decade ago. Representing our client on a petition for reclassification, we argued that our client currently poses no cognizable risk of re-offense and should be relieved of the obligation to register. SORB agreed that our client poses no cognizable risk of re-offense, but nonetheless issued a Level One classification, claiming the statute bars complete relief for those convicted of a sex offense… Read more »

@ mike r: I’ll be curious to hear what the Superior Court decides in the case you describe. In effect, you are arguing against the blanket, lifetime registration requirement due to lack of cognizable re-offense risk. If this proves successful, this same argument could be used by many of us currently on Califirnia’s SOR. (If I am understanding correctly.)

Mike, please contact me directly so that we can discuss your strategy more fully. Perhaps we can file similar cases in Superior Courts throughout California.

This is such a plausible and obvious argument that I am dumbfounded that CARSOL and the ACLU have not persued this in court. Please someone explain why it hasn’t happened.

Yes if successful it could be used by the majority of rso in CA. It seems that no reasonable mind could conclude that people such as Frank and thousands of others pose any cognizable risk for reoffense therefore they can not be subjected to this arbitrary oppressive official action. With all the current data and reports from the gov. Own agencies stating that registration laws are useless and even counterproductive and the fact that all these laws where enacted using false statistics exaggerated language no reasonable person could conclude that almost all rso don’t need to be subjected to these… Read more »

They do however achieve the unethical and nefarious “legislative objectives” of securing personal political futures – albeit through the gross distortions of facts and the legislative process itself.

If articulated correctly this type of argument can force the court to create new precedence and force the court to disregard earlier precedence that was set on false statistics and misinformation. It could change the tables for future litigation concerning any and all sex offender laws.

Sorry didn’t mean to imply that I was the attorney in that case. I copy and pasted from an attorney site.

That’s why the lovely ” ” (quotation mark) was invented 🙂

Well if no .one is going to help me I will continue on my own. Here is just a beginning of adding case law a precedence in my motion. The Constitution’s provision that “[n]o state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,” U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1, guarantees more than just fair process; it “cover[s] a substantive sphere as well, ‘barring certain government actions regardless of the fairness of the procedures used to implement them,'” Cnty. of Sacramento v. Lewis,523 U.S. 833, 840 (1998) (quoting Daniels v. Williams,474 U.S.… Read more »

The court has previously relied on false statistics and misinformation presented in previous litigation on sex offender registration and notification laws that stated there was a need for the laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. I want this court to rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following.

This is going to be the hardest to refute. Numerous courts, including this Court, have routinely held that convicted sex offenders do not have a fundamental liberty interest to be free from registration requirements. E.g., Doe v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police,490 F.3d 491, 500 (6th Cir. 2007); Doe v. Tandeske,361 F.3d 594, 597 (9th Cir. 2004); Ark. Dep’t of Corr. v. Bailey, 247 S.W.3d 851, 861 (Ark. 2007); State v. Germane,971 A.2d 555, 584 (R.I. 2009); Hendrix v. Taylor,353 S.C. 542, 552, 579 S.E.2d 320, 325 (2003); McCabe v. Commonwealth,650 S.E.2d 508, 512 (Va. 2007). Although I am not… Read more »

This following is exactly what can be and needs to be refuted with current facts and reports. The court then applied the rational basis test and held that the Supreme Court’s determination in Smith v. Doe, that the Alaska statute served a “`legitimate nonpunitive purpose,'” and that the categories of crimes and “`corresponding length of the reporting requirement'” were “`reasonably related to the danger of recidivism'” and were “`consistent with the regulatory objective,'” compelled the conclusion that the reporting requirement was valid, although the petitioners did “possess liberty interests that are indeed important.” Tandeske, 361 F.3d at 597 (quoting Smith,… Read more »

The following can be applied to all rso. Pennsylvania’s highest court recently ruled that lifetime registration of juveniles under the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is unconstitutional. In affirming the ruling of York County Senior Judge John C. Uhler, the Supreme Court on December 29, 2014 held that SORNA’s registration requirementsviolate juvenile offenders’ due process rights by utilizing the irrebuttable presumption that all juvenile offenders “pose a high risk of committing additional sexual offenses.” Grounding its opinion in the due process guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment and key provisions of Pennsylvania’s Constitution, Justice Max Baer, writing for… Read more »

…”adult sexual offenders have a high likelihood of reoffense”. Where does the judge get that information?

Grounding its opinion in the due process guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment and key provisions of Pennsylvania’s Constitution, Justice Max Baer, writing for the majority, ruled that the juveniles’ constitutionally-protected right to reputation is encroached upon by an irrebuttable presumption of future offending that is not universally true and where a reasonable alternative means exists for determining the presumed fact.

Surely an adult has the same constitutionaly protected right to reputation

Finally Jethro got one right!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x