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National

IL: Column: Now it’s Wayside Cross residents’ turn to be blindsided

[chicagotribune.com – 6/28/19]

Yes, this is a story about the law.

In particular, it’s about a law that prohibits child sex offenders from being within 500 feet of a public park or building where children gather. Which is why the city of Aurora on Wednesday sent eviction notices to almost two dozen residents of Wayside Cross Ministries.

It is, however, also a story about the spirit of the law, which is always far more complicated.

For more than 90 years, the people who society tend to deem undesirable, even repugnant, have been allowed to live at this faith-based and well-respected mission in downtown Aurora, where they take part in a Bible-based program that allows them a shot at redemption and rehabilitation.

Police-related matters are not the issue: Even the Aurora Police Department acknowledges Wayside runs a tight ship that has resulted in fewer problems than other areas of the city. Unfortunately, officials had for some time now been misinterpreting the mapping system used to determine the distance between locations and therefore underestimated the feet between Wayside and McCarty Park.

According to Deborah Lang, Aurora’s assistant corporation counsel, when officials realized the mistake, a meeting in late February was held with Wayside to let them know about the error.

Wayside, obviously caught off guard, gave officials a tour of the 47,000-square-foot facility in an effort to argue the sex offenders were actually residing outside the 500-foot limit. And the city left that meeting with the promise to do more research into the issue.

“They had no reason to believe it was all OK,” said Lang. “It was made clear there was a problem and we would get back to them … and then communication fell apart.”

Which, as we all know, leads to problems.

A few weeks after this unresolved sit-down, all hell broke loose when the mission took in ex-con ________ who, though not a child sex offender, was part of one of the most notorious murder cases of the last 30 years in the Chicago area.

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  1. Tim

    Illinios,
    I was born an illini, and my mother lived there for the vast majority of her life. My wife’s mom still lives there but is disheartened by high taxes on everything! The public unions and private unions run the show in the state.
    I wonder statistically if increased safety can be had 1 ft. at a time? A hundred ft? THE majority in Smith V Alaska noted the wide broadcasts of SOR was in part justified because of the at liberty disposition by the released sex offender. Registrants were, according to that review, were still free to live and work with the rest of the citizenry. A lie!

    Why the effort to ” focus upon the world wide web broadcast ” embedded in the regime’s ” necessary operation ” in the complaint to the court? Why not point to the plain indenture itself?
    Man to” the people’s ” database property maintenance! Yes a property, like a prison. Yes, maintained by law like a prison.

    That errant and ignorant decision wrought loss of liberty and privacy immeasurable based upon a desire to exploit the powerful potential USES OF database machine.

    • AJ

      @Tim:
      You touch on something (free to live as other citizens) about Smith that has long made me scratch my chinny-chin-chin. Is it not possible to highlight that every assumption SCOTUS used to uphold Smith is gone? Free to live as other citizens? Nope, due to marked DLs, residency restrictions, presence restrictions. Not held up for shaming? Nope, due to marked DLs. Public must make an effort to retrieve the info? Nope, due to governmental and private entities pushing the information out to people electronically, by paper, and by canvassing. No in-person reporting? Guess again.

      These are just the handful of things that came to mind without even consulting Smith. And I didn’t even address “frightening and high.” It just seems it should be possible to show that Smith isn’t even applicable anymore and that using it as foundation is a sham.

      • Tim

        “Sham in mere pretext” was the defensive plea in Kansas V Hendreicks, the SCOTUS ruling on civil commitment. Scalia found that statement offensive, but it was absolutely true the state’s intent behind civil commitment was indeed punitive, essentially reincarnated those who’d ” served their time.” How a justice system based upon constitutional ratification could survive such obfuscation of duty is readily apparent.
        IT WON’T.

        WHAT THE REHNQUIST COURT DID WAS NOT ANYTHING SHORT OF DISPELLING THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURTS REPUTATION and not bolster constitutional reverence for making tough choices that hold Congress accountable.
        We see same sidestepping in Gerrymandering cases. HANDS OFF\ LAZIFARE approach only equates to promoting the extremism in both parties. Aps are now available to help both parties gerrymandering by population via census when drawing districts..

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