By Susan Motander
As a result of a 2015 ruling by the California Supreme Court to remove the Department of Corrections authority to enforce the restrictions on where registered sex offenders can live, and a subsequent Court of Appeals ruling that extended that only to those on active parole, not sex offenders, an attorney has filed suit against cities up and down the state asserting their local ordinances were also unconstitutional.
The argument against the restrictions was that these restrictions made finding affordable housing impossible, thus forcing them into homelessness. The resulting homelessness could lead to repeat offenses.
Despite the fact that the rulings did not directly apply to municipal codes, Monrovia City Attorney Craig Steele advised the council that it was his opinion, in fact the prevailing opinion that the courts would rule in accordance with its earlier opinions in both the other cases.
This issue did arise as a result of such a suit being filed against the city of Monrovia in Federal Court by the attorney representing sex offenders. According to Steele, the attorney has agreed to drop the suit if the city repeals its ordinance.
Council Members Becky Shevlin and Larry Spicer along with Mayor Tom Adams all voted in favor of repealing the ordinance, although each stated reluctance to do so. Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Crudgington voted against the repeal.
In her remarks Crudgington noted she had worked for thirty years as a marriage and family therapist, often dealing with those who had been abused as children. She said, “I’m hoping there is a special place in hell for any attorney who spends his time defending sex offenders.”