Riverside County supervisors this week set in motion the process for repealing a county ordinance that restricts where convicted sex offenders can reside and where they can hang out.
In a 5-0 vote, the Board of Supervisors tentatively agreed Tuesday to annul all provisions of Ordinance No. 902, enacted in 2010 to establish strict parameters concerning the living conditions of registered sex offenders.
According to the Office of County Counsel, several state appellate court decisions handed down in the last two years effectively invalidated the county's sex offender ordinance, and without a repeal, the county faces the possibility of lawsuits.
The board is expected to complete the repeal process by July 31.
Under Ordinance No. 902, convicted sex offenders cannot live together under the same roof; cannot loiter within 300 feet of a school, park, bus stop, library, public swimming pool or similar location where children gather; and cannot partake in certain festivities geared specifically to kids, primarily Halloween trick-or-treating.
The county regulations were implemented swiftly in response to a California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation proposal in July 2010 to release a convicted child rapist and killer, Donald Schmidt, to a Perris-area group home. The facility was around the corner from an elementary school.
State officials later dropped the idea and sent Schmidt elsewhere.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled in decisions stemming from challenges to similar ordinances in Orange and San Diego counties that the restrictions were too onerous and conflicted with state parole measures already in place.
The Office of County Counsel noted that Penal Code section 290, requiring lifetime sex offender registration with law enforcement, along with companion measures, provide a number of protections that the county's ordinance was intended to ensure.
Under state law, a convicted sex offender must:
- Obtain express permission from his or her parole agent before entering a park
- Not reside within 2,000 feet of a school
- Not enter a child daycare or adult residential care facility without first notifying the staff of his or her registration status
- Not accept any job working with minors if the victim in the offender's underlying crime was 16 years old or younger
County attorneys said the California Supreme Court has agreed to review one of the appellate court decisions, but without knowing which way it may go, it behooved the board to repeal all of the current restrictions.
– City News Service.