Sex offender challenges Commerce residency restrictions

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – An admitted sex offender who is not on parole is suing the city of Commerce, alleging its local regulations regarding where registrants can temporarily or permanently live in the city are so restrictive that he cannot find any affordable housing in the community.

The plaintiff is identified only as John Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday. He is asking a judge to find that the law interferes with state law and is unconstitutional because it denies him due process and equal protection.

The plaintiff is required to register as a sex offender under state law.

“The … Commerce ordinance excludes registrants from residing in most single-family housing in the city, as well as virtually all multi-family housing in the city,” the suit states.

A representative for the city did not immediately return a call for comment.

The median monthly rent for an apartment in Commerce is about $1,040, while affordable housing for registrants is considered to be about $850 a month, the suit states.

“The City of Commerce residency restrictions effectively banish registrants from all affordable housing …,” the suit states.

A city ordinance states that a  registered sex offender “shall be prohibited from becoming a permanent or temporary resident in any residential exclusion zone,” according to the suit.

The local measure defines a residential exclusion zone as any area located within 2,000 feet from a child care center, public or private school, park or library, according to the suit.

In addition, registrants cannot live in the same single-family home or apartment-type unit if another registrant lives in the same location, unless the two are related by blood, the suit states.

Most registrants are likely to live in apartments rather than single-family homes and the local restriction on how many offenders can live in one apartment building sharply limits the number of places offenders can reside, the suit states.

In addition, a registered sex offender is banned from temporarily renting or occupying any single-family dwelling or any unit in a multi-family dwelling,  according to the suit.“

“This ban on short-term visits applies to registrants regardless of whether the dwelling falls within a residential exclusion zone or to properties where no other registrant resides,” the suit states. “Plaintiff is therefore effectively prohibited from either temporarily or permanently residing in the City of Commerce due to the city’s residency restrictions.”

The suit further argues that the 2,000-foot limitation is unreasonable.

“There is no rational basis that supports 2,000 feet as a distance that increases the safety of children,” according to the suit.

6 COMMENTS

  1. How bizarre that any murderer can live anywhere he wants in peace and quiet, but a guy who had a 17 year old girlfriend 30 years ago is publicly shamed and banished. ‘Murica!

  2. There are piles and piles of evidence from actual reality that show that residency “restrictions” are not needed or useful. It is well known. These “restrictions” are not for public safety, protecting children, or any of the rest of their lies. They are for harassment.

    The only governments that have any “$EX offender” “restrictions” are criminal regimes. The only people who support them are criminals. They are not Americans for whom any of the us need have any concern. They are enemy combatants within our country and they deserve to die.

    All people who support Registries deserve to be attacked every day. Wage war by any means that is legal.

  3. So interesting in that the California Department of Justice shows a statistic of 0.6% of registered citizens will commit another sex offence. That is one in 167. So the odds are about 40 to 1 that an offence will occur from a registrant. Yet people think they are unsafe. It’s the opposite. But people who create these bills don’t care about statistics or facts, or safety. Only want votes or attention. I wish people in these positions would do their job and check facts.

  4. Hopefully Janice Bellucci is party to this lawsuit against this municipality. It’s time these laws be brought down once and for all. Government-backed discrimination is a shame and a disgrace.

  5. How can individual towns and cities still have their own local ordinance after the state’s Supreme Court ruled such ordinances unconstitutional due to the fact state law has precedence?

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