Residency restrictions “Significantly more restrictive…gone too far”

By Nick Ferraro . . . West St. Paul is reworking its “predatory offender” ordinance in light of a federal judge’s ruling that a convicted sex offender is likely to succeed in his lawsuit against the city.

The ordinance — passed in December 2016 — bars convicted sex offenders from living within 1,200 feet of schools, day care centers and group homes.

Last August, Level 1 sex offender Thomas Wayne Evenstad, 52, sued the city in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, arguing the ordinance is unconstitutional because it imposes retroactive punishment by banishing him from almost all of the city.

The city argues that the residency restrictions are meant to “promote, protect and improve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city.”

In January, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John Tunheim granted Evenstad’s motion for a preliminary injunction, which prevents the city from enforcing the ordinance against him. Tunheim concluded that Evenstad is likely to prevail with his lawsuit because the ordinance is “significantly more restrictive than those upheld by the 8th Circuit.”

Tunheim wrote that although the decision was a “close call,” West St. Paul has “gone too far in the sweep of its ordinance.”

“No one disputes that a city has a strong interest in protecting its citizens,” he wrote. “Indeed, a more narrowly drawn ordinance would likely pass constitutional muster.”

On Monday, the city council held a first reading of an amended ordinance. It would apply only to Level 2 and Level 3 offenders whose crimes involved children, not to Level 1 offenders or those whose crimes involved adults. Also, group homes would be eliminated from the 1,200-foot restriction.

City attorney Kori Land told the city council that Tunheim’s ruling “gave some pretty specific guidelines and a road map as to how the judge would recommend the city amend its ordinance.”

A second reading and public hearing are scheduled for March 12.

West St. Paul is among at least 84 cities, townships or counties in Minnesota with residency restrictions for sex offenders, according to the Department of Corrections.

Read remainder of the story here.

Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.


Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #36232 Reply
      Jeremy from Indiana

      There is one and only one reason why localities and municipalities enact residency restrictions… because if they don’t and the neighboring community does, then all of the offenders will presumably move to the less restrictive area.

      This does not and never has had anything to do with protecting children and the lawmakers know this regardless of what they say to the public. This has to do with banishing them from “their” backyard so they become someone else’s problem. This is also why the restrictions have gained more distance over the years. If a neighboring locality has 1000 ft, the lawmakers say, “Let’s make ours 1200, 1500, or 2000” in an effort to drive former offenders out.

      This is why I maintain that the only real solution to residency restrictions is to combat them on a national level. If one locality like this loses a case, they will become the least restrictive in a specific geographical location. They can then complain of it being “attractive” to former offenders. If we eliminate them on the national level though, this will cease to be a problem because no offender will move.

      • #36424 Reply

        Correct jeremy !!!

        To think it’s just fine to nibble here and there in the courts against all these sex offender laws will get us nothing but a very long hard haul !,,let’s get all the RCs and there allies together and get things done now !!!

        • #37261 Reply
          Will Crump

          Well, that call to action is all good, well and fine. I agree totally that something needs to be done on a national level. I have just one question. How can that be done when most of us, like myself, can’t even get a job due to our convictions and the plethora of work restrictions. To do something takes money. When one doesn’t have money one has to hope a lawyer can be found who is so invested in fighting ALL FORMS OF GOVERNMENT-BACKED INJUSTICE that they will donate the hours upon hours of time needed to fight this, the fortitude to withstand the blackballing of his or her name and the slander and threats that will be sure to follow.

          Here in Tennessee, the TN chapter of the ACLU has proven about as useful as teats on a boar hog in times past when it comes to sex offender issues. Their stance is we’re going in beaten so we won’t even waste a single cent or minute of our time trying.

Viewing 0 reply threads
Reply To: Residency restrictions “Significantly more restrictive…gone too far”
We welcome a lively discussion with all view points provided that they stay on topic - keeping in mind...

  • *You must be 18 or older to comment.
  • *You must check the "I am not a robot" box and follow the recaptcha instructions.
  • *Your submission must be approved by a NARSOL moderator.
  • *Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • *Comments arguing about political or religious preferences will be deleted.
  • *Excessively long replies will be rejected, without explanation.
  • *Be polite and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • *Do not post in ALL CAPS.
  • *Stay on topic.
  • *Do not post contact information for yourself or another person.
  • *Please enter a name that does not contain links to other websites.

Your information:

<a href="" title="" rel="" target=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <pre class=""> <em> <strong> <del datetime="" cite=""> <ins datetime="" cite=""> <ul> <ol start=""> <li> <img src="" border="" alt="" height="" width="">