Judge: Sex-offender law unconstitutional

Nov. 5, 2010 at 2:23 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- After a judge's ruling, California officials say they've stopped enforcing a section of a law restricting how close sex offenders can live to parks or schools.

Jessica's Law placed strict residency requirements on certain sex offenders, forbidding them from residing within 2,000 feet of a school, park or play area.

Civil rights attorneys have argued the law makes it impossible for some registered sex offenders to live in densely populated cities, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nearly all of San Francisco, for example, is off-limits to sex offenders because of the number of parks and schools near housing.

Los Angeles County Superior Judge Peter Espinoza ruled the law unconstitutional, saying it left sex offenders in some areas with the choice of being homeless or going to jail because the law restricts them from living in large areas of cities like Los Angeles.

Los Angeles officials confirm there are few places in the city where sex offenders can find housing that meets Jessica's Law requirements.

After the ruling, the state Department of Corrections issued a memo Tuesday suspending the portion of the law concerning the residency restrictions.

There are about 5,100 registered sex offenders in Los Angeles, and about 1,020 of them are prohibited by Jessica's Law from living near places where children congregate, the Times said.

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