Federal judge Virginia Phillips issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) today that prohibits the City of Murrieta from enforcing its residency restrictions against a registrant who moved to his sister’s home earlier this month. The TRO will remain in effect until August 15 when a hearing will be held to determine whether the judge will grant additional injunctive relief.
“This is a great victory for registrants,” stated attorney Janice Bellucci. “For the first time, a federal judge has stopped the enforcement of a city’s residency restrictions in the state of California.”
According to the decision, the city’s application of its restrictions to the plaintiff violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it was the result of blanket enforcement and did not consider the actual risk posed by the plaintiff. The plaintiff has a Static-99 score of zero and is physically disabled. He moved to Murrieta under an interstate compact, approved by the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in order to obtain medical care and financial support.
In its decision, the court considered as evidence a recent report issued by the CA Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) which concluded that “residence restrictions are likely to have the unintended effect of increasing the likelihood of sexual re-offense.” The report also found that residence restrictions lead to homelessness and are associated with an unstable lifestyle that includes housing instability unemployment.
In its decision, the court noted that the CASOMB report “suggests that allowing Plaintiff to reside with his sister in Murrieta may promote the public’s interest in child safety, as it would provide stability to Plaintiffs’ life and decrease the likelihood he would re-offend. The court also noted that “allowing Plaintiff to remain in his sister’s house may actually further Defendant’s (Murrieta’s) legitimate interest in protecting children.”