California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris has advised parole officers at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that sex offender residency restrictions, approved by the voters, would be found unconstitutional in every county. As a result, parole officers will no longer be enforcing residency restrictions prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or parks.
“This is outrageous,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), former Chairman of the Board of Prison Terms and advocate of Jessica’s Law. “This unilateral decision by one politician not only goes against voters’ wishes, it puts children in harm’s way.”
The decision stems from a San Diego case where four registered sex offenders petitioned the court. In the densely populated county, convicted sex offenders had a hard time finding housing. On March 2, the California Supreme Court agreed that the mandatory blanket residency restriction of Proposition 83, known as Jessica’s Law, is overly broad.
The Supreme Court’s ruling only applied to San Diego County. Ms. Harris “advised CDCR that applying the blanket mandatory resident restrictions of Jessica’s Law would be found to be unconstitutional in every county.”
“Taking this decision and applying it to every county in the state is a risky and unnecessary leap beyond what the court opined and one I believe far exceeds the AG’s authority,” Nielsen added. “State corrections officials should review each case and impose the strictest conditions warranted to ensure public safety.”
Passed in November 2006 with 70 percent of the vote, Proposition 83 prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools.
Jessica’s Law was named after Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old girl who was abducted from her Florida home. She was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender who lived nearby.