Brandon Hernández 8 a.m., Jan. 29
Court finds sex offender residency law unreasonable
California’s Fourth Appellate District Court has ruled that provisions of Proposition 83, the 2006 ballot measure that places numerous restrictions on convicted of sex offenders, are “unreasonable” and “oppressive,” Courthouse News Service reports.
One provision of the law that the court finds specifically troublesome is a requirement that sex offenders may not reside within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
Four registered sex offenders living in San Diego County, William Taylor, Jeffrey Glynn, Julie Briley and Stephen Todd, challenged a 2010 California Supreme Court ruling that the housing restriction was to apply to all paroled offenders, regardless of the date of their crime.
After their release, none of the four were able to find permanent housing – Todd took to living in a homeless encampment in the San Diego riverbed, Glynn began living in his van. At the advice of their parole agents, Taylor and Briley took up residence in an alley behind their parole office.
At a 2011 hearing, experts testified that 24.5 percent of residential property in the county complied with Jessica’s Law residency requirements, but only three percent of multifamily homes in the county, with attendant lower rental costs more in line with what a recent parolee could be expected to afford, were in compliance. Unwillingness of many landlords to rent to sex offenders further constricts the housing supply, leaving many offenders at risk of either homelessness or noncompliance.
“There are so few legal housing options in urban areas in the county that many offenders face the choice of living in rural areas or becoming homeless,” wrote Judge Patricia Benke on behalf of a three-judge panel. “Relegated to rural areas of the county, petitioners are cut off from access to employment, public transportation and medical care . . . we find the blanket residency restriction, as applied in San Diego County, excessive and unduly broad in relation to its purpose - namely, to establish predator free zones around schools and parks where children gather.”