Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Backers of Jessica's Law vow to fight L.A. judge's ruling [Updated]


California corrections officials voted to appeal a Los Angeles judge's ruling that the 2006 statute restricting how close sex offenders can live to parks or schools was unconstitutional.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza concluded that the controversial measure 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 swaths of some cities such as Los Angeles.

Backers of Jessica's Law said they want a higher court to review the ruling.

State Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), the author of Jessica’s Law, said most parts of the state still have ample housing for sex offenders, including Los Angeles.

“Clearly there are places to live in Los Angeles County,” Runner said. “That’s what’s so astounding about the ruling. Even those who have found a place to live are now being allowed to live across the street from a school. You don’t give a card to every sex offender, pervert in the county to let them live wherever they want. That’s just wrong. The voters didn’t want that and it’s wrong for a judge to unilaterally decide that.”

Runner said he was confident the geographic rules would eventually be restored in Los Angeles County and elsewhere. He also suspected that the judge’s order might prompt local cities to impose their own rules on where sex offenders can live that might be more restrictive than Jessica’s Law.

Judge Espinoza issued the 10-page ruling Monday after four registered sex offenders petitioned the court. He noted that the court has received about 650 habeas corpus petitions raising similar legal issues, and that hundreds more were being prepared.

In his opinion, Espinoza cited comments by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck that Jessica's Law restrictions had resulted in “a marked increase of homeless/transient [sex offender] registrants.” In 2007, there were 30 homeless sex offenders on active parole in Los Angeles. By this September, that number had jumped to 259, Beck said. Most of the new cases were filed in the last six months.

[Corrected at 10:10 p.m.: A previous version of this story said there were 30 sex offenders on active parole in the city of Los Angeles in 2007. There were 30 homeless sex offenders on active parole in the city of Los Angeles in 2007.]

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Supporters of Jessica's Law in 2006. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (13)

lets be honest here, Jessica's law was designed to remove sex offenders from places like Orange County, Lancaster, and other "planned" communities. And like these places do with their homeless, they all want to dump off their problems on the city of L.A. As for people's response "put 'em in jail." Jails/Prisons FULL idiots. Were being ordered by federal court to Release 40,000 criminals as we speak. and finally NO we can't make rape and child abuse death penalty cases, simply because then every other crime worse then rape and child abuse automatically becomes death penalty as well .you can thank the Supreme Court for that. But hey, if you believe in this law, your probably willing to accept the tax increase to build more prisons in your community. oh thats right not in YOUR neighborhood.

These laws were worthless to begin with, think I'm joking, ask lily Burk, ask Chelesa King, ask Norma Lopez. where as Jessica's Law then.

I am 70 yr female with a 45 yr old son in prison for a 1st time sexual offense on a 14 almost 15 yr old girl we all knew. WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT ARE CONVICTED OF SOME HORRID THINGS AND FOUND OUT YEARS LATER TO BE INNOCENT?

I love and admire my son and he was due to be out yesterday 11/3 and after a long distance drive, he wasn't getting out, due to the fact they forgot or had not done an evaluation on him, so he is on a Hold to do so right now.

I gave a 30 day notice where I lived and had to be out 10/30. For 5 or 6 weeks, I lived on my computer looking for apts. to rent that were of somewhat reasonable cost. Then I had to Google Map each one for Schools nearby and then Google for Parks nearby and then Google Earth map them. For about 5 weeks, am to pm, all I did. Every place had either a park or a school just a bit too close to get approved. Finally, found something perfect and put a deposit on it which I Lost, because there was a park just a bit too close by. Parole measures from your front door to the nearby boundry of park...as the Crows Fly...Not how far if you walk or drive, but how you fly...straight! WOW.
Getting tougher and tougher. I think they are happy if your loved one becomes homeless. I finally find another place , a week before I have to Move and 1 1/2 weeks before son is released. Parole doesn't answer my 2 or 3 voicemails a day for measuring and/or approval. I call everyone, but finally only 2 days before I HAD to move, I approved it myself with a big prayer.
Here I am...still no approval, no gps measurement and of course , son 11/3 release was stopped...isn't that strange??? So, Senator Runner, (repub) which I am, I have tried and tried from am to pm for weeks to find a place. IF it turns out to be a few feet short, I can't have it. I tried. Now I am in a place just moved to, and so far, I have NO answer as to it being okayed!!! I can't afford to continue moving for a few feet or few yards.

You don't know individual cases, even if convicted. People like you (and me) dislike the thought of serious sexual offenders being too close. But it is a proven fact, that it doesn't and hasn't one single bearing on anything, except
to keep the offenders homeless, moving around, no work, no clothes, no ability to do so and to get worse and worse..I would like to see you try living totally homeless for a week and see what it is like. IT is up to Parents to educate their children and their home and their parenting. Homeless people can be a worse threat than knowing where they are.

When a case goes to trial for any kind of sex crime, a jury automatically believes they are guilty no matter what. After all, the media has exploited the worst of the worst to us. No wonder we are behaving in such a horrid manner . I bet many are going to churches or synagogues or wherever and believing they are acting like pious and like Jesus taught us. And bet many of you stare at porn on your PC's, ignore your families, and really just don't care except your anger . I am sorry for you that your pea brains are so limited that you chose to have Government run the lives of everything because you are not capable. Many are innocent!! Many who serve their time are ruined forever, guilty or not guilty. A home, a family, a decent job is way out of the question and you want to make them transients on top of it????

Dau, friends are Pete Wilson, Steve Cooley, and Lee Baca just to name a few.

The law was intended as crows fly? jail birds. Jail birds no fly. Journe has a good arguement. I wonder how many of these sex offenders, or excuse me humans, well, ok mamals, actually become bank and liquor store cash withdraw engineers. (thieves)Mamals without accounts at these places.
Seriously, I knew this law would create more hardened souls to lash back at society. As "Gloria Alred, said once to me; what a cartoon this is." Interesting....

It is accepted by the psychiatric and treatment community that a sex offenders residence has zero bearing on whether they will commit a crime. No one really cares what the facts are they just want to run around claiming they have the right to protect the public protect the kids when what they do wastes millions of dollars and doesnt protect a single person. Sex crimes or re-offenses have NOT decreased after the passage of sex offender laws!!!

Well Journe, the real problem is that you are 70 years old and trying to take care of your 45 year old son. Make him grow up and deal with his problems on his own. That is why our communities are in the situation that they are.

Lawmakers went for the votes through the fear factor, scared the bejesus out of the citizens, and without any scientific data whatsoever, claimed that sex offenders needed to live a certain distance from schools, parks, and other places where children gather.

While I agree they shouldn't be living directly across the street from a school, there has been scientific studies conducted that prove that it makes no difference where a sex offender lives, there is no correlation between living close to any of the now off-limits places and re-offending.

The Minnesota Dept. of Corrections conducted a long and thorough study in regards to proximity and rate of recidivism. They too had the problem in placing parolee's because of the proximity laws. Not one of the 253 parolee's that were studied re-offended as a result of the location of their residence.

The lawmakers came up with all of these feel-good do-nothing laws, and I'm sure that all of you have that warm and fuzzy feeling inside foolishly thinking that you and your children are safe from harm because these lawmakers got you to vote for them because they scared the hell out of you.

Just remember, as each day goes by, another father, mother, aunt, uncle, teacher. soccer coach, lawyer, fireman, or policeman will be caught either sexually abusing a child or viewing or possessing child porn. How would you know who these people were BEFORE they were caught, but yet created numerous victims?

The best place for someone that has already been caught and registered is right under your noses. They need to have access to their counselors and treatment centers. If they are forced out of society, then society loses track of them. Where's that warm-fuzzy feeling now?

Laws don't protect children.

PARENTS protect children.

If you want your children safe, make sure they are with people that have only their best interests in mind. When your kids are with other people, you must make sure that both the kids - and any adults spending time with them- are all properly supervised.

I know! If this judge is so worried about these wastes of breath going homeless, let's assign him to take them in. Should be really cozy!

Runners is misguided and obviously has some deep seeded issues. I cannot believe he actually said " You don’t give a card to every sex offender, pervert in the county to let them live wherever they want. That’s just wrong."

Okay, if not every how about those who are law abiding?

How would people react if lets say a law was made that anyone who has every had a DUI cannot drive after 5pm or on weekends?

What part of "punishment after the fact" do people like Runner do not understand?

Why is our consitutional rights being blind sided by hysteria and knee jerk reactions?

What the general public refuses to understand is that the recidivism rate for ALL "sex offenders" is between 3 and 5%...Check out the statistics if you don't believe me! Then check the statistics for other Violent crimes, it will shatter your misconceptions. Also, what people don't seem to want to understand is that there are many labeled "sex offenders" that aren't really such. People want to protect their children but aren't willing to do the research nor put in the time to protect them, themselves. The majority of "sex offenders" are not child predators...again, check the statistics and ask the experts. If the government would initiate a tier system then maybe they could keep high controls on the ones they should be dealing with instead of lumping them all in one category and harassing them all....Just an idea. Plus, the ones on parole (all of them) are on GPS which means that again, instead of a few blips on the screen to monitor, there are thousands! Let's be honest. Is someone who has consensual sex with a teen the same as someone that rapes a 6 year-old? Seriously! Also, those who streak in public and commit petty crimes while intoxicated and "annoy" a child are ALL lumped into the same category. Wake up and smell the political agenda folks! You may "feel" safe in a car without a seatbelt but the statistics and actual accounts tell you otherwise. Research before you needlessly persecute someone. Also, please research an entire Bill or Law before you vote on it. How will they regulate things and pay for it?

The judge in my opinion made the right decision I hope this jessica law stay the way it is forever.People here the word sex offender and they go bolistic what about murders they treat this worse than a murder there should then be a restristry for that right.Ok so its the parent responibility to protect your own children how is telling some one they cant live by a school or a park protecting any child they can drive right but there are some offender cases that have nothing to do with children still they had to suffer from this law even being homeless they are still by a park OR A SCHOOL i THOUGHT TO MYSELF WE OUR IN OUR WARM HOMES THEY ARE LIVING OUT ON THE COLD STREETS I CARE.PEOPLE THAT OUR TRANSIENTS GOOD FOR THEM THAT WAY PEOPLE DONT HAVE TO MONITOR THEM AND ONLY PAROLE AGENTS AND I WISH THEY CAME UP WITH THE LAW NOT TO EXPOSE THERE INFO ON THE INTERNET THATS UNCONSTITUAL TOO SO IM HAPPY FOR ALL SEX OFFENDER YOU HELPED WITH THERE PETITION THEY HAD ALEADY HAD FEE WAIVER FOR JESSICALAW SO THEY COULD LIVE BY A SCHOOL AND PARK BECAUSE THERE CASE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH CHILDREN

Backers of Jessica's Law are TOTALLY ignorant of the mountains of RESEARCH that is out there. SEE: Ten Myths About Sex Offenders - Citizens for Legislative Change-Oklahoma http://t.co/WUZaaIT


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: