The state court of appeal has decided to review an Orange County law that bans registered sex offenders from county parks, beaches, harbors and other recreational areas.
The conviction of a sex offender who visited a county park in Fountain Valley was recently overturned by a three-judge Superior Court appellate panel, which said the ban was trumped by a similar but less restrictive state law. The panel sent the case to the Court of Appeal, which will take up the matter.
After the county passed its ban, cities such as Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and Laguna Niguel approved similar measures. But this month, Lake Forest repealed its ban, citing the cost of defending it in court and questioning its necessity and effectiveness.
"The ordinance on its face violates both the state and federal constitutions,” Janice Bellucci, president of the California Reform Sex Offender Laws, said in a press release. Belluci also said the ban "does not increase public safety because more than 90 percent of the individuals who sexually assault children are family members, teachers, coaches and clergy, not registered sex offenders.”
The opening brief from the Office of the Public Defender is due Jan. 17, but there has been no date set for the court’s decision.