On Thursday, a California appeals court placed a stay on a recent ruling by the Los Angeles County Superior Court that declared Jessica’s Law unconstitutional.
On November 1, Judge Peter Espinoza reasoned that the law, which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park where children gather created a hardship by restricting where they could live, forcing them to choose between homelessness and returning to prison.
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According to Senator George Runner, the bill’s author, the vast majority of LA County sex offenders on parole were already in compliance with the law.
The ruling also upset many voters, as the law was passed by 70 percent in 2006. Santa Clarita subsequently enacted an ordinance adding trails, paseos and open space within the city to the 2,000 foot radius.
Proponents of the ruling have noted that the law makes it impossible for offenders to live in densely populated cities, leaving a lack of areas that fit the requirements.
While the ruling triggered the Department of Corrections to suspend the law, it cannot override local ordinances, forcing sex offenders living in Santa Clarita to continue to abide by the 2,000-foot provision.