October 16, 2007

Sex offender news roundup

Florida court strikes down residency restrictions

In a surprising decision, an appellate court in Florida has struck down the city of Jacksonville's residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders. After the state passed a law preventing offenders from living within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, libraries, or day care centers, the city of Jacksonville expanded the distance to 2,500 feet. In striking down that municipal ordinance, the court said it lacked any "rational basis" and thus violated the due process rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

For an analysis and a link to the ruling, see the Sex Crimes blog.

California police dragnet closing in

Who came up with the myth that sex offenses primarily happen in parks or at schools, as opposed to behind the closed doors of someone’s home? Whatever its origin, it sure is popular these days.

With the state's Supreme Court poised to hear a desperate appeal from four sex offenders who are being threatened with prison because they live too close to parks or schools, parole agents are fanning out across the state and making arrests. Some 855 sex offenders up and down the state are facing reincarceration over the next two weeks if they don't find a new place to live, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Andy Furillo of the Sacramento Bee has the full story.

Appellate court overturns deportation

An adult who engages in a sexual act with a minor has not necessarily committed a crime of "moral turpitude" meriting automatic deportation, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

The decision reversed an immigration court's order deporting Alberto Rene Quintero-Salazar, a Mexican national who came to the United States in 1990 and became a lawful permanent resident four years later. His wife, three children and two stepchildren are all U.S. citizens and he argued that his deportation would create an undue hardship for them.

According to the court, a crime of moral turpitude meriting automatic deportation requires willfulness or "evil intent" involving some level of depravity or baseness so far contrary to the moral law that it gives rise to moral outrage. In contrast, the sexual conduct criminalized by the California statute under which Quintero-Salazar was convicted could include consensual sex between two high school students, conduct that is legal in other states, and conduct that would be legal in California if the adult and minor were married.

Steven Ellis of the Metropolitan News-Enterprise has the details on the case, Quintero-Salazar v. Keisler, No. 04-73128.

Photo credit: "Bogeyman" by faedrake (Creative Commons license)