City begins repeal of sex-offender residency rules

SAN MARCOS — The City Council has voted to start the process of repealing its sex-offender residency and loitering restrictions after receiving a letter threatening a lawsuit if it didn’t repeal the rules, which courts have ruled unconstitutional elsewhere.

The San Marcos City Council’s July 25 vote for the first reading of the repeal was unanimous.

Voters in 2006 approved Proposition 83, better known as Jessica’s Law, which prohibited registered sex offenders on parole from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. San Marcos, following the lead of a number of cities, in 2007 enacted its own local ordinance that prohibited all registered sex offenders, not just parolees, from loitering within 300 feet of where children congregate.

But in the years following the ordinances, a number of studies and reports have shown that the restrictions have negative effects, including isolating and increasing homelessness among sex offenders, which makes it harder for law enforcement to monitor them.

Courts have ruled that the 2,000-foot residency restriction was unconstitutional in San Diego County and the 300-foot loitering prohibition, adopted by a number of cities, was unconstitutional overall.

The state’s Sex Offender Management Board in 2016 in its annual report recommended “against all current and future use of blanket residency restrictions by local jurisdictions,” and said that state authorities would stop imposing the restrictions in the wake of court rulings.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has also informed its contract cities that it would not enforce sex offender loitering ordinances.

According to a July 25 city staff report, the city recently received a letter from the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offender Laws threatening legal action if the city didn’t start the process of repealing its rules.

City staff said that a full repeal was the prudent step to take.

“Mindful of the growing data from the State and experts in the field suggesting that sex offender residency restrictions could have the unintended consequence of threatening public safety in our community, as well as careful evaluation of the recent case law decisions which raise questions regarding the City’s authority to enforce blanket residency restrictions, it is recommended that the proposed Ordinance be adopted to repeal SMMC Chapter 10.44 in its entirety,” City Attorney Helen Holmes Peak wrote in a staff report.

The City Council must vote on a second reading in August before the repeal takes effect.

6 Comments
  1. Lance Martinez 3 weeks ago

    It’s about time to repeal unconstitutional laws governing sex offender restrictions.

    • will Williams 3 weeks ago

      it is truely amazing in this country that a person’s who’s only crime was he/she text someone. Never even met them. They’ve banned from everything for life. Yet a drug dealer who sold drugs to a child and that child dies they are banned from nothing, in fact they can walk into a school day care and you can’t say boo about it. You have no right to know what their crime was or where they live. This is American jutice. Yet politicians,judges,cops etc etc who harm children even sexually are never punished. In one state a judge was caught with a underage girl…the DA said ” to charge him would ruin his career and life”….this is justice. ..in America.

  2. Lance Martinez 3 weeks ago

    [J-121B-2016]
    IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
    MIDDLE DISTRICT
    SAYLOR, C.J., BAER, TODD, DONOHUE, DOUGHERTY, WECHT, MUNDY, JJ.
    COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
    Appellee
    v.
    JOSE M. MUNIZ,
    Appellant
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    No. 47 MAP 2016
    Appeal from the Order of the Superior
    Court at No. 2169 MDA 2014 dated
    August 7, 2015 Affirming the Order of
    the Court of Common Pleas of
    Cumberland County, Criminal Division,
    at No. CP-21-CR-0000903-2006 dated
    October 14, 2014.
    ARGUED: December 6, 2016
    Justice Dougherty delivers the Opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I
    through IV and VII, and announces the Judgment of the Court. The
    Opinion is joined in full by Justices Baer and Donohue, and by Justices
    Todd and Wecht with the exception of Parts V and VI. Justice Wecht files
    a concurring opinion in which Justice Todd joins. Chief Justice Saylor files
    a dissenting opinion.
    OPINION ANNOUNCING THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
    JUSTICE DOUGHERTY DECIDED: July 19, 2017
    We granted discretionary review to determine whether Pennsylvania’s Sex
    Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 Pa.C.S. §§9799.10-9799.41, as
    applied retroactively to appellant Jose M. Muniz, is unconstitutional under the ex post
    facto clauses of the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions.1
    The Superior Court

  3. Lance Martinez 3 weeks ago

    AWA Loses in Pennsylvania’s Highest Court

  4. Tim Moore 3 weeks ago

    It doesn’t work. It is unconstitutional. Good choice.

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