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Huntington Beach's proposed sex-offender ban debated

May 20, 2011 |  7:35 am

Hb The founding dean of the UC Irvine law school says a proposal to ban registered sex offenders from municipal beaches and parks in Huntington Beach would violate constitutional protections by restricting the right to be in public places.

"A city can't say, 'Go to some other city' because other cities will do it and then there will be no place to go," said UC Irvine's Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional scholar.

The Huntington Beach City Council directed its city attorney Monday to draft an ordinance that would bar registered sex offenders from city parks and beaches; the city has no jurisdiction over Huntington State Beach.

Although the vote was unanimous, council members split on how the law would be implemented and whether it should ban all registered sex offenders from visiting beaches and parks.

Councilman Matthew Harper introduced the ban in response to a similar law for county recreational facilities, passed in April by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. That ordinance allows sex offenders to visit county beaches and parks with permission from the Sheriff's Department.

Harper, who works for Supervisor Janet Nguyen, said Huntington Beach cannot sit idly by and allow sex offenders to gravitate to the city as its neighbors ban them.


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-- Mona Shadia, Huntington Beach Independent / Times Community News

Photo: A surfer walks along the sand in Huntington Beach, which is considering banning sex offenders from beaches and public parks. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times