Friday, October 5, 2012

CA - Sex offender challenges city bans

Original Article


By Mona Shadia

Orange County resident targets Huntington Beach, three other cities in lawsuit filed in September.

A registered sex offender has filed a lawsuit against the cities of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Lake Forest challenging the constitutionality of laws they adopted to ban registered sex offenders from entering public property.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court, claims the cities' ordinances banning him from entering city parks, roads and beaches violate the Constitution and his protected rights under the law. The lawsuit also names Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the four cities' police chiefs.

A copy of the lawsuit was provided to the Independent by the Huntington Beach city attorney's office, which received it Tuesday, said City Atty. Jennifer McGrath.

The San Francisco law firm representing the sex offender, whose name was not listed but was verified by the courts, said the ban violates his 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, by being banned from entering public property, is unable to peaceably assemble, speak freely, travel via some public roads, receive information and petition the government. The ban also deprives him of his liberties without a fair hearing and prevents him from judicial access, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also claims that because he completed his sentence long before the ban was enacted, those cities' laws stand to potentially increase his punishment, which also violates the Constitution.

The lawsuit asks the courts to permanently stop the four cities from enforcing their ban and declare the laws unconstitutional.

The plaintiff was convicted more than 15 years ago, according to the lawsuit. He has long since served his sentence and been treated and is now employed and married with children, the lawsuit said.

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