unconstitutional for individual parolees within their jurisdictions. One of the four sex offenders who lodged the challenge to the law is paroled to San Francisco. The court extended the stay for the four petitioners, meaning the residency restrictions cannot be applied to them.
"Certainly they have grave doubts about the constitutionality of the law from a basic rights point of view," the petitioners' attorney Ernest Galvan told the Weekly. "We're prepared to show it's forced homelessness. Once [the local court] has those facts, they can grapple with the constitutional arguments."
A December SF Weekly story outlined how the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation's enforcement of the law has pushed even sex offenders
whose crimes happened decades ago and had nothing to do with children
onto the streets, homeless shelter drop-in centers, RVs, and vans.
The aforementioned four offenders challenged the law, arguing it was unconstitutionally
vague and being applied retroactively.
The court didn't agree the enforcement was retroactive. In the
majority opinion, Justice Marvin Baxter stated the residency
restrictions are only enforced on sex offenders who were paroled and
took up non-compliant housing after the law's passage. Read the
CDCR spokesman Gordon Hinkle says that parole agents will continue to enforce the law as they have on parolees, unless they get a court order to do otherwise.
"Overall we're pleased the court upheld the will of the voters in the state of California," Hinkle told SF Weekly. "We definitely are going to continue to apply it with the intent of what the law was supposed to do."
Carlos Moreno rejected that interpretation as "fiction" in the dissenting opinion, arguing that the law should only apply to sex offenders
who were convicted of a sex crime after the passage of the law. He said
that nothing in the ballot initiative's language indicates that the day
that a sex offender is paroled is the triggering event for application
of the residency restrictions.
Moreno also argued that since
the residency restrictions were sold to voters as creating
"predator-free zones" for areas where children learn and play, applying
the rules to sex offenders whose crimes had nothing to do with kids
only wastes law enforcement resources.
Galvan, the attorney, says he's prepared to argue the law's alleged unconstitutionality in the local courts. "We'll prove it's crazy wherever we have to."