Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CA - Will City's Repeal of Sex Offender Ban Start Trend?

Original Article

We sure hope so!

12/05/2012

By Peter Schelden

Amid legal challenges, Lake Forest decides its law to keep sex offenders out of parks would cost too much to defend in court. Other cities may follow suit.

Lake Forest became the first Orange County city to repeal its ban on sex offenders in parks Tuesday, a move closely watched by community leaders around the county.

Citing the high cost of defending the measure in court, the Lake Forest City Council ended its ban on sex offenders in city parks. Cities such as Mission Viejo, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and Laguna Niguel have similar bans that could be subject to legal challenges by convicted sex offenders. San Juan Capistrano discussed and ultimately rejected a ban out of liability and legal concerns.

It would cost at least $200,000 to defend the law on constitutional grounds, said City Attorney Scott C. Smith. And that's only if the city won, a prospect that seems increasingly questionable. Losing could add penalty costs, including paying the legal fees of the sex offenders who challenge the ban.

The city knew it had a legal battle on its hands when the law passed unanimously last December, said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the Orange County district attorney's office.
- Yes, because they knew it was unconstitutional, but they tried to pass it anyway.

"When we were here last year, we told them we would be sued," she said.

Mayor Kathryn McCullough asked if the D.A. would pay the city's legal costs if opponents made good on a promise to sue.

The question set off an argument between her and D.A. Tony Rackauckas. Read a transcript of that argument here.
- Make sure you read this idiots remarks, it's the usual "make the person look pro-sex offender" argument.

Rackauckas said neither he nor the county could be expected to pay the city's fees.

One activist lawyer said she had two clients ready to sue the city if the repeal did not go forward.

"If that ordinance is not repealed, that lawsuit will be filed," said Janice Bellucci, state organizer with California Reform Sex Offender Laws.

Bellucci said only 1.9 percent of California's sex offenders are arrested again for sex crimes. "They are people who have already been in prison, already paid their debt to society," she said.

Lake Forest resident Mary Axelrod said the ban was needed to protect the city's children from molestation.
- Nope, not true.  How many kids can you point out who were molested in a park?

"This is a sickness, and the only way to stop this is for them to stay away and avoid the temptation, which is going into a group of children," she said. "I would think the safety of the children would outweigh lawsuits because the people come first in all occasions."
- Well, since most sexual abuse is by family members, maybe you should be pushing for a law to remove all kids from their parents?  That would make more sense.

Robert Curtis, a Lake Forest hairdresser convicted 12 years ago of a misdemeanor sex crime, said the ban keeps him from watching over his son in city parks.

Rackauckas said he was unsure if the city's repeal would be repeated around the county, saying "it's pretty hard to call." Currently about half of Orange County's cities have enacted similar laws.

A county law along the same lines is no longer being enforced following the overturned conviction of [name withheld].

Keeping the law on the books but not enforcing it would still leave Lake Forest with "some vulnerability" to lawsuits, Smith said.

The council tentatively reversed the measure on a 4-0 vote with one abstention. The reversal will return later for final approval.

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3 comments :

deathklok said...

Lake Forest resident Mary Axelrod said the ban was needed to protect the city's children from molestation.
"This is a sickness, and the only way to stop this is for them to
stay away and avoid the temptation, which is going into a group of children," she said. "I would think the safety of the children would outweigh lawsuits because the people come first in all occasions."

This is the common perception amongst citizens that I find the most frustrating to hear. The thought that being a registrant equates to being a zombie with only one thing on your mind; Rape women and children. California has the indefinite detention program for certain prisoners that are released from prison, but are deemed "Sexually Violent Predators" or display characteristics of pedophilia. They end up in institutions for as long as the state can afford to keep them. I wish the media would direct more focus towards this when they're addressing certain issues about registrants and public safety.

It doesn't help anyone when public officials coerce people into believing their child's well being is threatened every time they leave the home.

g4change said...

IN YOUR FACE, Tony Rackauckas!!! In. Your. Face.

NJ45143112 said...

So, when referring to the city counsels around OC, which is the better analogy: "Sheep" or "Lemmings?"

Personally, I'm guessing it's "lemmings" since they all chose to jump off the constitutional cliff and plummet into the abyss of abused authority...

Tony must know full well by now that he went too far but he'll never admit it. No politician will grandstand and then willingly admit to doing wrong. Even if he does concede, it'll be with the caveat that "it's a dark day for the children that the law could not protect them" or some other nonsense...

The bare fact is that they didn't consider the existing laws, the protections of the Constitution or the statistics of alleged sex offender recidivism. They further took no notice of the fact that study after study shows that the registries don't work. Lastly, they seem to have considered themselves "charged by God" to wage a holy war against sex offenders and that any ordinance they put in place to "protect the children" was above reproach...
Now, they all look stupid. Stupid for following behind this moronic DA (for DA, read: "Dumb A**") and not doing even the smallest amount of research to support or refute his claims...
This is the state of our country people! Legislatures that pass laws and enact policies HOPING that they can get away with it. The more power that lies behind the governing ("ruling?") body, the easier it is to avoid challenges. Congress is the worst of the bunch...