By Andrew Bowen . . . The city of San Diego has settled a lawsuit challenging a city law that limits where convicted sex offenders can live, agreeing to enforce the law only against those who are on parole.
The 2008 ordinance bans all registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or other facility that caters to children. The city has never enforced the law, however, because of concerns over its constitutionality.
In 2015, the California Supreme Court overturned a nearly identical law covering unincorporated San Diego County. The court found such residency restrictions are unconstitutional when applied to all sex offenders regardless of an individual’s circumstances, such as the severity of the crime or how much time had passed since their conviction.
Then, in 2017, City Attorney Mara Elliott asked the City Council to repeal the ordinance, noting it had never been enforced and would not likely withstand a legal challenge. But council voted 5-4 against the repeal, which prompted the Sacramento-based Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws to file suit on behalf of anonymous sex offender plaintiffs.