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Sex offender sues four Orange County cities over park, beach bans

October 5, 2012 | 10:49 am

A registered sex offender has filed suit against four Orange County cities, challenging the constitutionality of laws that ban sex offenders from using public parks, beaches and even some roadways.

The suit is aimed at Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Lake Forest, which have all modeled local ordinances after the county’s sex offender law, which bans those people from entering county parks and other public facilities.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court, claims the ordinances that ban the plaintiff from entering city parks or beaches violate the Constitution and his protected rights under the law. The lawsuit also names Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the four cities' police chiefs.

The San Francisco law firm representing the sex offender, whose name was not listed but was verified by the courts, said the ban violates his 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, by being banned from entering public property, is unable to peaceably assemble, speak freely, travel via some public roads, receive information and petition the government. The ban also deprives him of his liberties without a fair hearing and prevents him from judicial access, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also claims that because he completed his sentence long before the ban was enacted, those cities' laws stand to potentially increase his punishment, a constitutional violation.

The lawsuit asks the courts to permanently stop the four cities from enforcing their bans and declare the laws unconstitutional.

The plaintiff was convicted more than 15 years ago,the suit said, and has long since served his sentence and been treated and is now employed and married with children.

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-- Mona Shadia

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