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Top Court Declines to Hear Case, Striking Ban on Sex Offenders in OC Parks

"We still believe it was the right thing to do," said a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's office.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

By PAUL ANDERSON
City News Service

The state Supreme Court refused today to review an appellate court's ruling, striking down a ban on registered sex offenders in parks in 15 Orange County cities and similar prohibitions in 30 cities statewide.

"We're obviously disappointed by the Supreme Court denying our petition for review," said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which promoted the bans. "We put our heart and soul in every brief and every argument to protect the children of Orange County from dangerous sex offenders.

"We still believe it was the right thing to do. We don't regret the effort, and we're going to continue to do all we can to protect children from sex offenders."

The only way to revive the bans would be to effect a change in state law to authorize local governments to enact their own bans.

In January, a panel of Fourth District Court of Appeal justices struck down the county's ordinance and one in Irvine. Since the Irvine ruling was published, it acts as a precedent and makes all of the bans unconstitutional.

The appellate panel ruled that the local ordinances conflicted with state law, which takes precedence.

In the Irvine case, JeanPierre Cuong Nguyen's success in getting his misdemeanor conviction dismissed by a lower court was affirmed. Nguyen was charged with violating Irvine's ordinance, because he went to one of the city's parks in September 2012 without the written permission of Irvine's police chief.

The county's ordinance also made it a misdemeanor for a registered sex offender to enter a county park without the county sheriff's written permission.

The appellate justices' ruling in that case stemmed from a visit by Hugo Godinez, a registered sex offender with Costa Mesa police, to Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on May 5, 2011, during a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Godinez was found guilty, but a panel of Orange County Superior Court judges who handle appeals in misdemeanor cases overturned his conviction last April and sent the case to the Fourth District Court of Appeal for review.

Most of the Orange County ordinances banned registered sex offenders, except in Irvine and Fountain Valley, where bans targeted those convicted of crimes against children.

Lake Forest, Lancaster, Palmdale, Costa Mesa and El Dorado County repealed bans after legal challenges were raised.

anothen April 24, 2014 at 05:18 PM
Listen to that pandering politician dribble: Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which promoted the bans. "We put our heart and soul in every brief and every argument to protect the children of Orange County from dangerous sex offenders. "We still believe it was the right thing to do. We don't regret the effort, and we're going to continue to do all we can to protect children from sex offenders." What a huge crock of horse manure. You would stand a better chance by applying for an audition at Universal Studios. There are very few dangerous Sex Offenders on the registry. Had it been reserved ONLY for the dangerous, ONLY then would it be worth all of the effort and expense the politicians were pushing on the American voter. Only just now are the common people are beginning to realize they sold us a raw egg, because they have tried vehemently to place every Tom, Dick and Mary that they could on the registry, regardless of whether they were legitimately dangerous. And now, the really dangerous, who are on the registry are well camouflaged behind the thousands who are not. It's your fault Politician, had you been wise instead of selfish, we would not have this mess now. I also accuse you, and your selfish pandering, that every sexual abuse, and sexual crime that occurs falls on your responsibility because you have the audacity to tell the common voter "We put our heart and soul in every brief and every argument to protect the children of Orange County from dangerous sex offenders." because you have not. As long as you continue to focus on the registry as the answer to the problem, you will never reach the goal. Either do some research, I mean real scientific research that will aid to reduce or eliminate Child Sexual Abuse, or shut up, I'm not buying it.
T. Weeks April 24, 2014 at 05:29 PM
One wonders how much heart and soul OCDA Chief of Staff Schroeder put into her goal of protecting the children of Orange County from 'dangerous sex offenders' when she declined to step up to the microphone at the first of the Lake Forest parks ban repeal hearings in December of 2012. This was minutes after the Orange County District Attorney got his **** handed to him by the Mayor of Lake Forest (the video is on-line and about as entertaining as a city council meeting can be). The Chief of Staff was called to make her statement (one would assume she had submitted a speaker card) but chose to remain silent. She did not appear so shy when city council after city council unanimously voted for this ban after her presentations, typically without discussion and great appreciation for the foresight of the DA's office, all the while she was assuring them that this was researched by the finest and best the OCDA has to offer and that it would surely pass constitutional muster.
T. Weeks April 24, 2014 at 05:34 PM
@Bob Forsberg - ... and as even better people strive to uphold the Constitution. Listen and repeat... these ordinances were ruled, and therefore are, unconstitutional. Nothing says that people (good and otherwise) cannot protect their friends and families. Just not at the expense of the Rights of others and the Constitution. Anything to the contrary would lead directly to the destruction of our society and civilization as we know it.
The One April 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM
I guess it is back to the drawing board for the Scrotum and Rawcarcass comedy duo. Their efforts to deny Constitutional rights while merely going through the motions of going after Fullerton's killer cops has fallen flat. oncefallendotcom for facts about s*x offenders.
Robert Curtis May 07, 2014 at 03:27 PM
There's more beyond the surface here. Most people don't know how easy it is to get put on the Sex Offender Registry. There has been children on the sex offender registry as young as 9 years old. Punitive measures are added Ex-post facto at the whim of any politician looking to get elected (like that of the DA). Making the registrant their new whipping boy for votes. What about the rights of the registrant's child? Don't they have a right to be with their parent? These laws break more than constitutional law and the God given right (spiritual law) of a parent to be with their child but it also breaks natural law. Even a mother bear is allowed to be with her cubs, but for a registrant and their child these laws dare to break those fundamental God given rights. Really? Where are we in pre-1945 Germany? Oh, about the sheriff giving out passes for registrants to go to parks. Why would a law enforcement agency give out passes for people to break the law? Sometimes Kids get hurt in parks and beaches. Whether by falling from a tree, drowning or choking on a hot-dog. It seems okay to violate the registrant child's safety by disallowing their first line of defense (their parents) to be there. Ladies and gentlemen these kind of laws are not for freedom but tyranny. The numbers and facts don't justify these fear based draconian laws. TRUTH

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