SACRAMENTO – The California Supreme Court said Monday that San Diego County’s blanket ban on where sex offenders may live is unconstitutional.
The high court struck down blanket mandatory residency restrictions on San Diego County sex offenders, ruling that the limits had raised the risk of homelessness and hampered the ability of law enforcement to monitor parolees, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The decision applies specifically to San Diego County, where residency requirements established by Jessica’s Law made it impossible for some offenders to find a place to live. However, the ruling also paves the way for offenders in other counties, particularly those with large cities, to show that such requirements must be relaxed.
The 2006 “Jessica’s Law,” passed by voters prohibited sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks where children gather, regardless of whether the parolee’s crime involved children.
San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob says the ruling is putting children at risk.
“This is about keeping our kids safe and the court unfortunately overruled what voters had supported… when you vote on something you figure that’s law and our children are going to be protected at schools, daycare centers and that’s not the case here,” said Jacob.
Jacob also said as of now, there is no plan in place to challenge the court’s ruling, which was unanimous.
“Blanket enforcement of the residency restrictions against these parolees has severely restricted their ability to find housing … greatly increased the incidence of homelessness among them, and hindered their access to medical treatment, drug and alcohol dependency services, psychological counseling and other rehabilitative social services available to all parolees,” Justice Marvin R. Baxter wrote for the court.