Friday, May 16, 2014

CA - Wasco sued over sex offender ordinance

Lawsuit
Original Article

05/16/2014

By Jose Gaspar

WASCO (KBAK/KBFX) - A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court in Los Angeles by a group called California Reform Sex Offender Laws challenges a Wasco ordinance that restricts sex offenders.

"We allege that the Wasco sex offender ordinance violates both the federal and state constitutions," said Santa Barbara attorney Janice Bellucci, president of the nonprofit legal group.

Wasco approved the ordinance in 2007. It prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any "children's facility."

But, it also bans registrants from being within 300 feet of a wide range of public and private locations, such as libraries, day care centers, parks and other places.

Bellucci said registrants have a right to access a library.

"There's a constitutional right to access to information. That's part of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. constitution, and that is being abridged by this city ordinance," said Bellucci.

She said the goal is to get rid of "presence restrictions" in every county in California in 2014.

Wasco city officials defend the ordinance, saying it was adopted with the intent of protecting residents and most of all, children.

"My intent is to protect the welfare and the safety of our children in our community," said Wasco Mayor Tilo Cortez.

According to Megan's Law website, Wasco has 15 registered sex offenders living within the city limits.

"Whenever you have registered sex offenders around small children, it's a concern for any parent," said Cortez.

The lawsuit is asking the federal court that it strike down the city's ordinance as null and void, and that Wasco pay all attorney fees and costs associated with the suit.

Five other cities in Kern County have similar sex offender ordinances in place: California City, Delano, Shafter, Taft and Tehachapi.

Just two weeks ago, the city of Shafter agreed to stop enforcing its ordinance after being informed by California Reform Sex Offender Laws that it, too, could be sued.

Cortez said he could not comment on the suit as the city has not yet been served.

"Obviously, we're just finding out about this, but we'll see where the law takes us," said Cortez.


8 comments :

nathan rabalais said...

Oh the horror what ever shall we do we have 15 sex offenders that live in wasco, really these people are worried about 15 people who more than likely don't even know each other and more than likely never crossed paths with one another but wasco is making a big deal out of it

Mark said...

"DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO."

elaine said...

Put him on registry !.thats what world has done to everyone .they on registry living with the restrictions and unconstitution .if our loved ones have to face it .govt cops .sherrifs .leaders shooulf the same not just a few yrs but like our lovrd ones 10yrs to life on it .the govt is no better than our loved ones who had a past but punished rest their lives for it

elaine said...

Wished we had someone like her fighting for us in tennesee.all across the land .our loved ones restrrictions would be no more and we could go and be anywhere we want with our loved one whom is on registry ..praying well see this happen one day .go janice fight fight fight gbu

getting closer to the street said...

Out of the 500 people . How many complaints were made towards women - flirting useing their woman or girlish styles for intrapment , of officers . In this day and age l refuse to believe that this behavior is only one sided . If so separate them like a grade school -BOYS ON ONE SIDE - AND tHE GIRLS ON THE OTHER . With this method of dividing both should be made to apologize, get re-asigned and get back to work . Both partys are already reported, continued behavior stirke TWO . Strike three and your OUT both parties involoved . There's no need for a registry, it will automaticly be anounced in back ground checks . Thats the part thats going to make the young adults, adults in this country . Male and female .

LoveTheBillOfRights said...

Keeping anyone out of a library, park, or whatever that is funded by taxes is similar to taxation without representation and preventing anyone from getting access to the information they need to stay compliant or fight a false charge is terribly wrong. Is it going to take another tea party in a harbor to get this through sheeple's heads? I understand ALL adults being monitored at schools which are specifically created for children but parks and libraries are created for EVERYONE to use as our society understands the need for the flow of information/education and the need by all humans for recreation and family time.

NJ45143112 said...

I find it depressing to hear politicians vying for office and making promises that they'll never keep and telling us how things will be better after they get elected...
Then, if they do get elected, they turn out to be just as obtuse as the last guy and come up with obscenely ignorant legislation that does nothing but cause problems for the electorate...
Kinda like the blind being led by the deaf and dumb...

Tyrant said...

So obtaining information legally is now unlawful for a Sex Offender? So, what would happen should he obtain such information, unlawfully without going to the library? This is creating a sort of scenario where, if a former-offender wishes to obtain knowledge, he will do so illegally. Than what? Will they ban information?
The whole situation is laughable, and one day I wonder in the future, they will look back at this and laugh at the ignorance behind it. Knowledge is power, and apparently they want to keep certain people from it. It starts when any one person is banned in the name of some stupid restriction as, "We want to keep our children safe."
Really, who the hell takes their eyes off their child in a library? And any teen who is taken from a library, don't they have security for that purpose? It's like, an offender is an unstoppable force until the crime is committed, so are the police/security that useless?
Excuse the rage of this mad-man, I just find them all so desperate and grabbing at straws I can't help but feel a sense of pity for them. The officials, I mean.