July 15, 2012

Sex offender ordinance tougher than state law

Other than a reason of banishment, this fails any public safety intent since 95% of new sex offenses are committed by folks NOT ON any registry!
7-15-2012 California:

A recently enacted ordinance regulating where sex offenders can live in Lompoc would significantly expand state restrictions, making it illegal for sex offenders to take up residence in most parts of the city.

Jessica’s Law, passed in 2006 by California voters, currently prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools, in addition to other restrictions.

Ordinance No. 1583(12), enacted in June unanimously by the City Council, at the request of the Lompoc Police Department, creates a 2,000-foot residential exclusion zone — consistent with Jessica’s Law — but expands that zone by making it clear that the distance is to be measured in a straight line between the residential property and schools and parks.

Also, instead of prohibiting residence of sex offenders near just schools and parks, the ordinance includes childcare centers, public libraries, commercial establishments that provide a playground, and Lompoc Unified School District’s eight school bus stops.

The ordinance, which would apply to anyone who was required to register under California Penal Code Section 290 sex offenses, regardless of whether they are on parole or probation, also implemented a 300-foot “Child Safety Zone,” prohibiting residence or loitering “with the intent to commit a sex offense.”

Sex offenders would be prohibited from renting or occupying a single-family dwelling — a facility which serves six or fewer people will not be counted — apartment or motel that is occupied by another sex offender.

And anyone that “knowingly” allows a sex offender to occupy a room on the same property as another sex offender could be charged with a misdemeanor.

“A responsible party shall be prohibited from knowingly allowing a guest room in a motel to be rented or otherwise occupied by a registered sex offender as a temporary or permanent resident if there is already a registered sex offender renting or otherwise occupying another guest room in that motel .. ..” the ordinance states.

Under the ordinance, a registered sex offender, for example, would not be allowed to temporarily live in their parents’ house if that house happened to be within 2,000 feet of a school bus stop or other designated residential exclusion zone property.

“It may be a strict ordinance but it’s done with two purposes,” Police Chief Timothy Dabney said. “It’s done to protect the youth in the community from sexual predators and passed to define discrepancy in the state’s Jessica’s Law.”

Lompoc police might intend to protect children, but others say the ordinance is not based on best-practice research surrounding sex offenders, and could even aggravate problems by putting them in a high-stress situation because they can’t find a home.

“These laws are a reaction to certain high profile cases,” said Assistant Public Defender James Voysey, who regularly represents sex offenders in court. “They are not based on scientific analysis or on recidivism rates and what causes sex offenses. There is no research that correlates where someone lives with sex offending. By creating this banishment situation for offenders, it puts them at a higher risk for acting out,” Voysey said. ..For the rest of this story: by John Sakata

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