The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) today filed a lawsuit challenging presence restrictions in the City of Irvine which were declared to be preempted by state law six years ago. Today’s lawsuit was filed after repeated requests by ACSOL to repeal the unlawful restrictions including a letter sent to the city dated February 13, 2020.
“The City of Irvine has acted unlawfully for the past six years by continuing to require some registrants to obtain prior written approval before entering a public park,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein. “This is particularly egregious because an appellate court has already ruled that the city’s restrictions are preempted by state law.”
In its decision, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, upheld the right of a registrant to use the city’s tennis courts without first obtaining written permission from the city’s police chief to do so. In its ruling, the court noted that state law “regulate[s] numerous aspects of a sex offender’s life,” including “the places a sex offender may visit,” “the people with whom he or she may interact,” “where and with whom a sex offender may reside,” the duty to inform law enforcement of numerous facts, “law enforcement’s ability to track a sex offender,” “what sorts of jobs or volunteer positions a sex offender may accept,” and “the public and private places a sex offender may visit.”
The Court further noted that, “although the Penal Code does not include a provision identical to the restrictions Irvine section 4-14-803 imposed on all sex offenders entering a public park where children regularly gather, it does include several sections prohibiting or limiting a sex offender’s ability to visit many public and private places where children regularly gather.” In light of the scope and number of the state laws governing Registrants, the Court ruled that the state’s “comprehensive and standardized scheme for regulating sex offenders” established a “complete system for regulating a sex offender’s daily life [that] manifested a legislative intent to fully occupy the field to the exclusion of Irvine section 4-14-803 and other local regulations.”
In the past, ACSOL filed a total of 32 lawsuits challenging presence restrictions in California cities and counties. As the result of those lawsuits, a total of 79 cities and counties repealed their presence restrictions.
“The only known remaining presence restrictions for registrants not on parole or probation in the state of California are those adopted by the City of Irvine,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “It is clear that Irvine’s restrictions are unlawful and therefore ACSOL challenged them today.”