A temporary restraining order (TRO) was filed today in federal district court requesting that enforcement of a sex offender ordinance in the City of Lancaster be halted.
“The Lancaster ordinance denies the civil rights of more than 100,000 individuals and families in California,” stated Janice Bellucci (Video), President of California Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL). “It prohibits people who made a mistake, but who have paid their debt to society from entering public places such as parks, schools and the library as well as private places such as movie theaters, arcades and the bowling alley. This prohibition adversely affects registrants’ family members as well.”
The City of Lancaster unanimously passed an ordinance on September 11, 2012, that prohibits all registered sex offenders (“registrants”) from entering some public and private places as well as from residing in the same home, apartment and hotel with limited exceptions. The ordinance also prohibits registrants from entering public shelters even in the case of an emergency such as an earthquake.
“The California Reform Sex Offender Laws organization testified before the City Council of Lancaster during the two meetings at which this ordinance was discussed,” stated Bellucci. “We told the City Council members at those meetings that the ordinance violates both the state and federal constitutions, however, they chose not to heed our warnings.”
California RSOL filed a lawsuit in federal district court on December 18, 2012, challenging the Lancaster ordinance. A similar ordinance adopted by Orange County was declared to violate the state constitution because it is preempted by state law according to a three-judge panel in Superior Court. That decision is currently on appeal, however, the Orange County Sheriff has publicly announced that it will not enforce the county ordinance.