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Appeals Court Takes Up OC's Sex Offender Law

State judges will decide whether California law trumps an Orange County ban on registered sex offenders at parks and beaches.

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 But this month, Lake Forest repealed its ban, citing the cost of defending it in court and questioning its necessity and effectiveness.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. 

Sabra Bruning December 23, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Justus, it seems to me that you are the one who just doesn't get it, not Nancy. I said that no sex offenders should be allowed near children, basically. You stated that was absurd. What is your problem?! Would you LIKE s.o. "near children"? First of all, no one can identify s.o. in a crowd. The punishment should come when they are convicted. No registry. No chasing them down to follow the laws. No ankle bracelets to track them. Much more serious consequences are needed. We need to permanently stop them. We OWE THAT to our children.
JustUs December 23, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Then do the same to drunk drivers who reoffend. And there are MANY MANY of them. They actually place our LIVES in danger. So ban them from our roadways. If you want to create a fascist society - they spread the fascism around equally, Ok. All criminals who threaten our safety should be treated the SAME under fascist rules. For that is the American way, correct? Equality under the law???? :)
meridith December 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Really? That's the best story he could think of to tell you?
Dp December 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM
kill them all and let God sort it out
C L December 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I'm50. His story matches what his family says. Afterall, they were there back in 82. We've been together 10yrs. He doesn't know how to turn a computer on. He has never shown any signs of looking for a child to molest. We do belong to a Motorcycle Club that are glad to have him aboard and do know of his charge. He is no threat to society. We live in Texas so maybe our laws are different here.
Mary Edmonson December 24, 2012 at 12:19 AM
The Court has to be out of its mind!
Sue December 24, 2012 at 01:15 AM
C L...I acknowledge that there is some wrongful convictions but the vast majority of prisoners proclaim innocence even though they are guilty. I am curious to know if you accepted his and his families claims of innocence as fact because they say so or did you actually look into the case like reading the court transcripts and so forth to see what evidence there was so that you could form your own opinion? Does he have any other criminal record? My friend is in love with a man who is convicted of rape and serving 30 years. She met him in prison 27 years ago (while visiting someone else) and is waiting for him to get out in another two years. 27 years she has been waiting for him. She firmly believes in his innocence and based on her version of the story she had me thinking he might actually be wrongfully convicted so I checked out his criminal record and read all of the court transcripts myself and although the DNA in this case wasn't conclusive of his guilt I must say that I think the rest of the evidence was strong. I think most would have convicted him just like the jury did. My friend still believes in his innocence no matter what and distorts the facts of the evidence even though the transcripts state otherwise. No point in trying to change her mind though because people just believe what they want to believe. Way too many women want to take these men on like they don't deserve better. Hope your not one of them. Like you, she will be supporting him and providing for him.
Fred Broder December 24, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Patrick, I have a two friends who are registered because the same 9-yr-old girl accused them both in separate cases. During my friend's trial, the girl changed her testimony 3 times. My friend has medical proof that he's not capable of what he's accused of (he has MS and Cerebral Palsy, plus a tumor on his brain), but they convicted him anyway. Conclusion: money talks and BS walks. ftfrddb
Chester Pack December 24, 2012 at 01:22 AM
to waste your time arguing with a dead beat criminal idiot like justus who thinks he can convince law abidding citizens to worry more about the comfort of a sex offender more than being concerned to prevent futher victims from falling prey to sick idiots like himself is to TOTALLY waste your precious time
Sue December 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
C L....btw...I discovered my friends incarcerated boyfriend had a criminal history including manslaughter, robbery, and assult with intent to comit rape prior to his conviction on this rape charge. Note his family believes he is innocent too just like in your story. Despite previous criminal history and court transcripts my friend still believes he is innocent because he and his family say so. Go figure! I think she has to believe in his innocence so she can justify why she wants to be with this guy otherwise she would have to examine herself for wanting to be with a person that has comitted these crimes. People believe what they want no matter where the truth lies.
Dennis December 24, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Why does any sex offender need to be in or near any park? I agree with Mary Edmonson - "The Court has to be out of its mind!"
JustUs December 24, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Chester Pack, don't know why you would defame me by calling me a 'criminal' which I am not. I've never been arrested once, peanut brain. So pull your head out. Some facts for you dunderhead: (1) Most sex offenders are not interested in children. (2) More than 98% of sex crimes do not happen in parks. (3) Drunken drivers take many, many more lives of innocent victims than sex offenders. (4) In America the rule has always been once a convicted criminal pays his judicial debt to society he or she is able to begin a new life and incorporate themselves into our society. Now you want to punish someone for life even after he or she pays their legal debt. You should consider moving to North Korea. You'd probably love it there. But I wouldn't want to confuse you with the FACTS.
JustUs December 24, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Sabra, how can I get this fact between your ears so it sticks? The large majority of sex offenders are NOT interested in children. Can't you understand that? Do I have to spoon feed it to you? Why should some 19 year old guy who had consentual relations with a 16 year old girl and had to register as a sex offender not be able to visit a local park? Don't they teach you about the US Constitution in school anymore these days? Or have you been so brainwashed that you think the US Constitution doesn't matter anymore and is obsolete??? Very very sad. No wonder this country is going to hell in a handbasket.
John Fidele December 24, 2012 at 04:23 AM
What no one seems to mention is that the recidivism rate among sex offenders is between 1.5 and 4 percent. It a sex offender offends again, it is with some other type of crime, not a sexual one. People are not perfect. They make mistakes and often have to atone for them their entire lives. Society today is so quick to condemn all registered sex offenders and force them to live as pariahs instead of productive members of society. These individuals are still human beings and should be treated as such. Banning them from parks or shopping malls or other venues where children might be present shows prejudice that cannot be backed up with fact.
C L December 24, 2012 at 07:24 AM
No, I haven't read the transcripts of his case. No, he had no other crminal history. In his case too, the gal tried to go back later & changer her story. The cops told her if she changed her mind, then CPS would take her kids away from her! His dad begged her to tell the truth on his only son. She said I'm sorry but I don't want my kids taken away. His father said what about my son's innocense. She got her ass beat to a bloody pulp for lying on him. Hearsay is she is no longer around. And btw, I am not naive. I used to work with ex-convicts.
Anonymous December 24, 2012 at 07:51 AM
There are many types of registered sex offenders and some of them should not be allowed to enter parks, but not all of them. It's like saying that you were convicted of stealing apples so you can't go into an orange grove.
JustUs December 24, 2012 at 07:53 AM
John, you have to understand. America is a puritanical society. So when someone says the word "sex" everyone's ears pop up. If you ever lived in western europe you would see that they have a completely different viewpoint about sex. Much healthier. Here in America, it always has 'dirty' connotations. I think that's one reason we have so many sex criminals over here. Everything is pushed underground. I detest child violators about as much as anything I can imagine. Once convicted they should go away for a long, long time. But once the debt has been paid based upon the requirements set forth my the judicial system - they should be able to move around society just like anyone else. That has always been one of the hallmarks of living in America. Pay your debt and then you are welcomed back into the mainstream. Calling for more severe punishment is one thing. But punishing a man after he's done his time sounds like North Korean garbage. We are better than that.
JustUs December 24, 2012 at 08:03 AM
But Dennis, you are missing a larger point. Parks are one of the least likely place that a sex offender or child molester finds or attacks it's prey. It would be like forbidding a former bank robber from attending church. It makes no sense. Secondly, we are talking FORMER offenders who have stayed clean forever. Why would you want to continue to punish people who have reformed and fulfilled all their judicial obligations? Thirdly, it is blatantly unconstitutional. Why would want to violate our most sacred national document?
JB December 24, 2012 at 08:48 AM
There is only one type of registered sex offender. The one that is required to register under Penal Code 290. Their underlying convictions and individual circumstances, however, are vastly different, yet they are all lumped into one group. The person who speaks rudely to minors riding alone on a public bus who got probation is treated the same as the guy who snatches and rapes multiple toddlers and has spent decades in prison. I cited some examples of offenses that result in mandatory - no ifs and buts - registration (one became discretionary in 2006) above. You are correct in that that broad approach is absurd. And yes, some should not allowed in parks and they are not. State law provides that a person on parole for a registrable sex offense who offended against a minor under 14 is prohibited from entering into a park. While on parole. Anything over and above that, enacted by a municipality, preempts State Law and with that, violates the State Constitution. You or I may not like it but I expect that the Appellate Court will uphold the recent Superior Court decision and find that the recent presence ordinances are unconstitutional and render them null and void. We will find out soon. The only surprise is that they lasted this long... I wonder if any RSOs are planning on suing any of the cities who did not immediately start the repeal process after the recent court decision. Seems like shooting fish in a barrel...
Dross Cool December 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM
THEY BELONG ON A BARON ISLAND SO THEY HAVE EACH OTHER
JustUs December 24, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Let's face it. Instead of thinking these laws through and implementing restrictions that made sense the politicians saw an opportunity to score points with the hungry sharks so lobbed a few pieces of lean red bloody meat into the shark pool to gain favor by creating a frenzy. And that, in a nutshell, is what you are witnessing here. It really has nothing to do with justice or keeping anyone safe. It is a form of deceitful grandstanding that makes a mockery of the traditional American judicial phrase "equality under the law". It is sad and it is dangerous that people in charge are willing to go to this length to ingratiate themselves to general public by violating the tenets of the most sacred documents in our land. Very scary.
Sue December 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
C L Thanks for the reply....again I was just curious and no insult was intended on my part. As I stated, I do acknowledge that people can be wrongly convicted. How unfortunate for your boyfriend. It is a shame that justice was not served in his case. I hope that lady pays a very big price for what she did. Personally I think she should have been jailed for life if found guilty of lieing. Best wishes for both of you.
Chris McLaughlin December 26, 2012 at 07:37 AM
What restrictions do you think make sense to implement??
JustUs December 26, 2012 at 08:20 AM
Chris, how about something logical and sensible like forbidding pedophiles on probation or parole from frequenting schools, child sport events, restaurants that cater to children, Circuses, or homes where children are left unattended, etc.... Parks are on about the bottom of the list for sexual assaults. Makes no sense. But if a pedophile is on probation or parole - order him to stay away from those as well. But forbidding all convicted sex offenders off probation or parole from going into parks is crazy. This is something I would expect to read in the North Korean Times. Does that explain my position on this? Oh, and I am no fan of sex offenders. Trust me. I just love my US Constitution more than I hate them. That's all.
DISGUSTED ABOUT IGNORANCE January 09, 2013 at 06:21 AM
Wow, I have never realized how prejudice and ignorant most Americans are until I happened to read this thread!!! Such hateful and cruel people; not all of you, but most of you. First you HATE sex offenders and then you HATE homosexuals---of course, I am sure that is only the tip of the iceberg, right? This makes me so ashamed to be an American to hear such rubbish!!! NO, I don't think it is right for an innocent child to be harmed in ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, however it happens and IT MOSTLY HAPPENS WITHIN "FAMILY WALLS"---FACTUALLY SPEAKING!!! As far as "homosexuals", hating someone because of their lifestyle or preference is IGNORANT AND RIDICULOUS!!!! How would you like a bunch of clowns HATING you because of HOW YOU FEEL or HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE??? In other words, YOU NEED TO GET A LIFE!!! It's true, 98% of all sex offenses DO NOT HAPPEN IN PARKS, AMUSEMENT PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS, OR WHATEVER YOU STUPID INDIVIDUALS THINK, "AND" IT'S RARELY BY A STRANGER!!!!! IF YOU TAKE AWAY ONE MAN/WOMAN'S RIGHTS, THEN YOU GIVE POWER TO TAKE AWAY OTHERS' RIGHTS TOO. Get a brain, do your "math" and make better decisions. Besides, any parent who leaves their child alone for a long period of time LEAVES OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL SORTS OF TERRIBLE THINGS TO HAPPEN!!! Like I said, MOSTLY FAMILY MEMBERS COMMIT SEX OFFENSES TO OUR CHILDREN AND IS OFTEN IGNORED. GIVE UP THE "WITCH HUNT" ATTITUDE AND KNOW THAT "EVERYBODY" HAS HUMAN RIGHTS TO BE HERE AND "EVERYBODY" CAN CHANGE FOR THE BETTER!
DISGUSTED ABOUT IGNORANCE January 09, 2013 at 06:23 AM
By the way, I'm not an offender of any kind and I'm not a homosexual, but EVERYBODY HAS A RIGHT TO LIVE AND EVERYBODY HAS A RIGHT TO BE FORGIVEN AND TO HEAL; INCLUDING THE CHILDREN WHO ARE HARMED. TEACHING A CHILD TO HATE ONLY MAKES MATTERS WORSE AND CAN CAUSE SUCH A TERRIBLE OFFENSE TO BE REPEATED BY THE CHILD WHO WAS ORIGINALLY HARMED BY PEOPLE WHO FOCUS ON "HATE"!!!
DISGUSTED ABOUT IGNORANCE January 09, 2013 at 06:28 AM
HOW ABOUT THOSE FEMALE SEX OFFENDERS WHO ARE GLAMORIZED??? AND ON THE COVER OF ALL KINDS OF MAGAZINES WITH THE "ONCE CHILD" THAT THEY HAD AN AFFAIR WITH AND THEIR NEW BABY??? DOES MARY KAY LATERNO RING A BELL??? Why this Society TREATS MALE & FEMALE OFFENDERS DIFFERENTLY IS PROOF OF THE CHAUVINISM THAT PLAGUES BOTH MALE AND FEMALE CONSCIOUSNESS. "SUCH HYPOCRITES"..."SUCH HYPOCRITES"....
JustUs January 09, 2013 at 06:45 AM
I understand your disgust, sir. I have no dog in this race. I have never been a victim of an RSO. I am not a RSO. I do not have any family, friends or acquaintances who are RSO's (as far as I know). So I am not emotionally involved in any way. I see this as a violation of our US Constitution and I take that very seriously. RSO's should not be society's modern witches so that prosecutors can increase their popularity with the electorate. That is an abuse of the justice system. It is despicable. I am ashamed of our leaders for pulling this stunt. It should never happen in a constitutional republic. I can't say that I have a favorable opinion of RSO's who have harmed another human. But I love my US Constitution much more than I could ever hate an RSO. I defended the honor of the US Constitution when I served in the military - and I will continue to do so. I understand your outrage. Hopefully saner minds will prevail.
DISGUSTED ABOUT IGNORANCE January 09, 2013 at 08:25 AM
I agree with you on many points. I, too, hate the fact that an innocent child or any other human is harmed and that is atrocious. I respect your point of view and THANK YOU for serving our country. I don't believe in the "Justice System" -- TODAY -- as it has failed in so many ways, so I don't know that because someone is "Convicted by a Jury" that they are truly "Guilty" anymore. I am also not the one to judge from my perspective because I am not anyone else but myself. I can only answer for myself and never forgiving others means that I am not worthy to be forgiven for my mistakes either. I wish people could just see themselves first before casting that stone. The true harm comes when someone, who is apparently ill-minded, cannot get help or is afraid of asking for help -- victim or offender of all sorts. This Society has a habit of instantly judging and prosecuting others without a fair trial, so it is very easy to be convicted of a crime one never committed. Thankfully, I am not in those shoes, however, I try to view the "whole picture" as well, and mind my own damn business before I try to judge another. I am sure that at some time in my own family, something heinous has happened and "no one spoke about it" and just buried the damage -- so to speak. There are too many injustices "all around" in our country today and so many "Witch Hunts" of all kinds. It's people like some of the ones on this thread that enables the harm to continue and grow into other harms.
JustUs January 09, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Yes, disgusted. All one needs to do is study the rise of Stalin or the rise of Nazi Germany to understand the 'slippery slope' and how it works. I do not want my country going down that same path. When I took the oath to defend the constitution, unlike many, I meant it and that oath is for a lifetime. Regardless of how unsavory a human being might be, I will defend his or her rights endowed by our creator and guaranteed under the US Constitution come hell or high water. Once we start the hand-wringing over who the US Constitution applies to - we are doomed to becoming a 3rd world banana republic. With me, that don't float.

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