By Thaddeus Miller . . . Fresno County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted this week to repeal an ordinance that restricts how close convicted sex offenders can live near schools and parks — a policy California’s Supreme Court found unconstitutional.
The move by Fresno County also includes a settlement with a Sacramento-based attorney who sued over the law.
The county has joined other localities across the state who have lifted the 2,000-foot or greater buffer many municipalities required of sex offenders for more than a decade.
About 40 localities, like Santa Clarita, Lompoc and several cities in Los Angeles County, have repealed their housing measures in recent years following litigation from Janice Bellucci, who is the executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws.
She represents a man court documents refer to as “John Doe,” who lives within 90 miles of the Fresno County in an RV but wishes to move into the county. He filed suit late last year.
The California Supreme Court decided in 2015 that blanket residency restrictions were unconstitutional, because they treated every offender equally — whether they exposed themselves in public once or were a repeat rapist.
“We gave them a couple years notice,” Bellucci said of Fresno County on Wednesday, noting the 2015 court decision. “It took them almost five years to do the right thing.”