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WI: Sex offenders contesting Pleasant Prairie ordinance

Six convicted sex offenders living in Pleasant Prairie allege the village’s restrictions on where offenders can live are so broad, they effectively banish them from the village in violation of their constitutional rights.

A federal lawsuit filed in June alleges the ordinance violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it retroactively applies the restrictions to offenders who committed qualifying crimes before the ordinance was enacted in April. Full Article

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  1. Chris F

    Wow! This article doesn’t even explain the best part I found in another article:

    http://www.cbs58.com/story/31771300/pleasant-prairie-approves-new-sex-offender-ordinance

    “Pleasant Prairie’s recreated, more stringent sex offender ordinance applies to lower level (Levels 1 and 2) sexual offenders who have not been classified as sexually violent. The placement of the most sexually violent (Level 3) offenders is covered by 2015 Wisconsin Act 156, which is a new, less restrictive, State law allowing the most violent offenders to be placed 1,500 feet closer to protected locations than the new Village Ordinance. The new State law prohibits municipalities from enforcing more restrictive rules for the Level 3 violent offenders.”

    So, in other words, if you are a violent level 3 offender, you can live at least 1500 feet from protected kid zones per Wisconsin law but if you are less of a risk at level 1 or 2, you have to live at least 3000 feet away.

    Those city lawmakers must not have graduated 3rd grade to not only violate the constitution but to also slap their own state law makers in the face by going against their intent.

  2. Erwin

    Welcome to hell which is the state Wisconsin where I reside. You think California is bad? Heck, I sometimes want to move back to my home state. Over the last five years, towns & cities throughout Wisconsin have been passing restrictive ordinances that essentially ban all offenders. The state has one of the most severe anti cp laws in the country and it all started back in 2010 after Scott Walker & his GOP cronies took control of all levels of government including the courts.

    That’s one reason why these plaintiffs in Pleasant Village are smart to sue at the federal level. Because they have no chance if they took it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court which is stacked with Walker appointed “family value” conservatives. What also makes the Pleasant Village ordinance unique is that it’s retroactive. But this lawsuit is extremely significant because it opens up the possibility of a federal court overturning all restrictive ordinances throughout the state. The story repeats itself….fear mongering politicians in local communities overshoot with restrictions and they end up with nothing after courts say no. It happened in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and some other states.

    This year alone Wisconsin has had an unprecedented number of local restrictive ordinances passed. Communities across the state went into overdrive after the Wisconsin DOC tried to place a high level “scary black guy” into a small town because his hometown Milwaukee would not take him. So the guy was left in limbo and the state couldn’t legally keep him institutionalized. So our GOP controlled legislature came up with a brilliant idea (yeah right) and passed a law this year to allow the Wisconsin DOC to be able to “override” local laws when it comes to placing high level 3 offenders back into the community. So what about lower level 1 and 2 offenders? They’re still subject to the same dumb ordinances and many of those offenders (in the 100s) are officially homeless.

    The DOC released my son as a level 1 but he couldn’t be placed back home in Milwaukee because of the ordinance. Luckily the DOC then paroled him to Madison. Although he’s away from family, I thank God he was placed in a liberal city that is more tolerant. Problem is Madison is filling up fast with other unwanted RSOs and I’m afraid the welcome mat may eventually get pulled in that city.

  3. Lake County

    And what reason is the new law making registered citizens live at least 500 ft apart? Afraid we’re going to get together and round up neighborhood kids? I have at least 10 RC’s in my neighborhood within 100’s of feet of me and after 20 yrs, I’ve never met one of them. The new law must only be to keep property values from falling too much.

    • Timmr

      I think it is underhandedly to banish registrants from Pleasant Prairie. The property values is part of it, no doubt, but what comes first? Property values go down because people fear a registrant in their neighborhood, or people fear their property values go down because a registrant lives nearby. The only truth is the status of registrants is as hazardous commodities, not human beings.

      • Erwin

        It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some homeowners believe registrants will bring down property values; therefore, they act accordingly to that belief. Many fear the belief more than the registrant. Many times beliefs are irrational because other market conditions (like the quality of public schools) usually cause property values to go down or up. Pleasant Prairie is ripe for spreading false beliefs. It used to be a more upscale Wisconsin community right on the Illinois border, but depressed economic conditions in the region coupled with fear of Chicago spillover of poorer racial minorities, have caused property values to fall or stagnate over the last few years. However, Madison has went in the opposite direction. Property values have continued to soar each year along with an uptick in registrants and racial diversity. That’s because the city’s vibrant economy, good schools, low crime rate, and less fear of “the other” overrides everything else

        • Timmr

          Good example. Therefore, one can ask if these restrictions find fertile ground where there exists economic insecurities combined with a socially conservative culture. Or, maybe this is how socially conservative cultures tend to react to economic insecurity. Heck, that would do a lot to explain the general increase in scapegoating in politics today. Anyway, I like your holistic explanation.

      • David Kennerly

        They should view resultant property devaluation as a tax on their willingness to impose unconstitutional regimes upon others.

  4. Richard

    In Wisconsin there is a concept known as ‘regulatory taking.’ This is when newly-passed regulations deny a property owner the ability to use his/her property for the primary purpose – in this case the primary purpose of a residence is a place to reside. The affected person is entitled to similar rights as would be in place for someone losing property to eminent domain situations.

    I’m no lawyer, but it seems that if this ordinance is in fact retroactive then any of those affected who own their property should also be filing an illegal takings case on the state level. They should be entitled to due process and compensation. I believe that this was also something done in other states (GA?)

  5. NIMBY

    As someone who is familiar with this town and their new ordinance, it certainly seems as though they are making an attempt at removing, then banning, all SOs from ever living within the town. They are trying to enforce the ordinance retroactively even though there is an exception for those who were living in the town before the new ordinance went into effect. The original ordinance was 2,000 feet which is already quite a large area. Instead of leaving it at that, they went to the extreme and passed a whopping 3,000 foot restriction zone, and added the 500 feet between SOs and only people who committed their crime as a resident can live in the town.

    Like Chris F. said, this new restrictive ordinance only applies to lower level SOs and not the ones who pose the highest risk. A perceived notion that SOs are causing a drop in property values is part of it. Another part is “stranger-danger” fear and that all SOs will re-offend.

    It’s too bad a lawsuit had to be filed in order for people to not be forced to move. But it’s also good because then maybe other towns will re-think passing ordinances like this. That is if the judge sides with the plaintiffs.

  6. Renny

    My cousin lives in PP and it used to just be a place to plop a big coal plant. As the FIBs started escaping Chicago and taking up residence in the superior state of WI, they brought their fears and pathetic New York style of insecurities with them.

    I had planned to move in with her in fact. Her last kid had moved away and you’d think all would be ok. No…. it was not OK, I was not “allowed” even though I am off all supervision except for the illegal and unconstitutional post-punishment punishments. WI has lost its once proud reputation for being a strong, fearless people who can spot each other across the room. Now WI is just as insipid and disgusting as their sister-state New York.

    “NIMBY” is correct the plague of banishment laws spreads across Packer Land and with it harassment, violence and shunning of offenders. Remember when Walker highlighted his felons to work(sic) program and then became publicly humiliated when the guy turned out to be a sex offender? This is his payback.

    While not as dirty and “working man” as Racine or Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie is worse. The natives are finding themselves infested with the filthy FIBs. Soon it will be safer to be a sex offender in Kenosha County than a transplanted FIB because I know first hand how fed up the natives are becoming.

    IL culture has no place in WI. They do not belong and need to go back to where they came from. For their own safety. Nobody wants a FIB in their town. The banishment laws that should be passed in PP are ones that restrict anyone who lived in IL from living within 2000 feet of a true Wisconsin resident. After all, banishment is not punishment, right?

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