October 11, 2007

CA: Sex offenders win temporary reprieve

Years ago, when he was 16, "John Doe" had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl at a party. Now, long after he's done his time, the state of California wants to send him back to prison for living too close to a school or park.

"John" (whose name is being kept secret to protect his privacy) is one of four convicted sex offenders who are challenging the constitutionality of the new Jessica's Law and its residency restrictions.

The four are among 1,800 parolees who were recently ordered to move or face prison. Under Jessica's Law, approved by voters last November, sex offenders may not live within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

Yesterday (Oct. 10), John and the other three won a small victory when the state Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction forbidding the state from sending him back to prison until his challenge is heard in court later this month.

None of the four men challenging the law committed crimes against children; their crimes occurred as many as 22 years ago. Their attorneys are arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it is too vague, imposes unreasonable restrictions, and continues to punish people long after they have served their time.

CNN linked to this post.