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Registered Citizen Challenges Long Beach Residency Restrictions

A sex offender (“registrant”) wishing to relocate to the City of Long Beach where he conducts business filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging sex offender residency restrictions. An ordinance adopted by the City Council of Long Beach prohibits most registrants from living within 2,000 feet of a child day care center, park, or school.

The lawsuit will be served tomorrow on the City of Long Beach. CA Reform Sex Offender Laws President and attorney Janice Bellucci filed the lawsuit today on behalf of plaintiff Frank Lindsay.

“Long Beach’s residency restrictions effectively banish most registrants from residing in that city,” stated Bellucci. “The restrictions prohibit registrants from living in at least 90 percent of the city. In addition, more than half of the land available to registrants is zoned for commercial use, office space, open space, or other non-residential use.”

In addition to significantly limiting where a registrant may lawfully reside, the ordinance requires registrants to live in areas where there is a lack of affordable housing. That is, most of the housing where a registrant may live is made up of single family homes, which are unaffordable for “virtually all Registrants.”

The lawsuit claims that Long Beach’s “banishment” of registrants violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as well as the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

The California Supreme Court in March 2015 struck down similar residency restrictions (Jessica’s Law) in San Diego County (in the case of In re Taylor). The court determined in that case, “(The law) has hampered efforts to monitor, supervise and rehabilitate such parolees in the interests of public safety, and as such, bears no rational relationship to advancing the state’s legitimate goal of protecting children from sexual predators.”

The current lawsuit states that the Long Beach residency restrictions “contradict and hamper the objectives of Jessica’s Law; fail to protect the public; and deprive registrants of stable homes, family support, social and medical services, and other means necessary to live productive, law-abiding lives.”

The lawsuit notes that the population density of Long Beach is approximately 9,300 persons per square mile as compared to only 680 in San Diego County. Long Beach’s restrictions therefore result in a greater impact on registrants, potentially forcing many to become homeless. The California Sex Offender Management Board has determined that homeless sex offenders pose a greater risk and utilize more law enforcement resources than offenders with residence and employment.

Join the discussion

  1. G4Change

    Good luck and God Bless you Janice and Frank!!!! These cities seem like they will never learn. They love to squander their residents’, visitors’ and business owners’ tax dollars. If I were a tax payer in Long Beach, I would be furious!

  2. PM111

    I thought the ruling last spring made these restrictions illegal. Someone please explain this to me. Thanks.

    • Bluewall

      If its so enforced in LB.. why am I still in my apartment??? O.o

      • Eric Knight

        A law currently on the books may not be enforced, but the reason it’s not being enforced is strictly because of priorities of the government. Now, if a situation suddenly came up such as a tragic kidnapping or murder of a child in or around Long Beach, particularly by a registered sex offender,* since the law is already in place, all it would take would be a decision to change the priority of enforcement, and BAM!! you get that eviction notice immediately.

        That is why it is important to get the law off the books. In this case, if the tragic incident happened, they would have to go through the lawmaking process again to create the law, which is much easier to prevent than if the law were to exist in the first place.

        *Once a murder or registrable sex crime takes place, a registrant ceases to be a “registered citizen,” hence my use of the term “registered sex offender” in the example above. (And yes, he’s “innocent until prvoen guilty,” but that’s not the point.)

  3. ocguy

    Apparently it is Groundhog day in the LBC…

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20080430/long-beach-suspends-new-residency-ordinance-for-sex-offenders/1

    If they suspended the ordinance in 2008, they must have re-instated it at some point since? Was it modified? What happened to the original plaintiffs? Anyone know?

    Good luck and thank you!

    • Janice Bellucci

      The ordinance being challenged in this lawsuit was passed in December 2008 and became effective in January 2009.

      • Eric Knight

        Obviously, they were not enforcing the law. There are hundreds of registered citizens living in areas deemed off limits by the current ordinance, many of them registered after the ordinance came into effect.

        The POINT, which is entirely valid, is that the law, while not being enforced (at least against non-parolees or probationers) is that enforcement has been stayed probably by recommendation of the city attorney, but the law was never removed. It will only take one tragic incident, though, for the edict to take effect, and I applaud your efforts to remove the ordinance now.

  4. j

    Imagine how much damage has been done to families in the time this ordinance has been in effect. From not being able to use facilities and services and the severe emotional stress that has been inflicted on children and families of registrants.

    If these politicos can live with that, it is living proof that they are essentially soul-less while touting “Family Values”.

    If this doesn’t make me want to puke, nothing does…

  5. USA

    Interesting. I’m an other/non disclosable /expunged and the registration process was so simple compared to OC. It took maybe 10 mins. I don’t want to go into details, but I’m going back to OC shortly. Never had issues. Almost scary quiet

  6. Billy Jack

    Dear Janice, first off thank you for doing this in the city I live in of Long Beach. However the registration process here is pretty respectful and they don’t seem to worry me when I do register, I’m only here because I own the building that I live in. Otherwise I may be homeless has so many registrants are. As we all know many of these rules are not applied consistently. I applaud you for taking this on as much as I can. I am lucky to have a job at the moment. I am lucky to have a place to live in something come. Thank you again for all you do and everyone in the are Sol bored

  7. Chester

    Lived in Long Beach for a while after release from prison. I lived behind a 7-11 for a few months in a nice home made of discarded U-Haul boxes (nearly new) and high quality tape. My parole agent didn’t care. Eventually, I traded the home and $50 of my benefits for a nice Coleman all weather tent. My land was perfect because it was shielded between a dumpster and a wall. I remained behind the 7-11 on Atlantic until the cops arrested me for trespassing and using a Target shopping cart! Long Beach held me for a day yet never returned my Coleman home! I worked as a high school teacher for five years and made a mistake. I was even voted most popular teacher my last two years. Now I make $8.00 an hour in a part-time job as a janitor and live in a roach infested motel when I’m lucky. It’s hard to find a job as a Registered Sex Offender. Most other days, I live behind either a Burger King or Quiznos. I have a new home, though not nearly as nice as the Coleman (though it is a more spacious 4-person tent). God bless.

    • j

      Did they give a reason for not returning your Coleman? I would write the mayor, though they usually go running for cover when it comes to challenging decisions made by le.

      They should have otherwise compensated you for loss of property.

      Sounds like they are going to get a wake up call here in the near future thanks
      to Janice and co.

  8. Timmr

    I am thinking of myself as a Registered American from now on. How convenient for the leaders we are not considered fellow Americans. The phrase also provides an oxymoron that highlights this farce: “Registered” (listed, watched, suspicious, fearful, as in totalitarian) and “American” (self-reliant, free, tolerant, informed and just, as in democratic).

  9. KangaroOCourt

    Whewwwwwwwww…millions a dollars… Millions a dollars….they mess with one’s civil rights already after these rulings and some points of law that can be still addressed …oh my…millions a dollars.. Millions a dollars.

  10. Bluewall

    What ever happened to Carson city?

  11. Otis

    If you look at statistics, you will find there are less people re offending sexuall then there are any crimes committed.

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