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La Habra Latest to Ban Sex Offenders from Parks

La Habra is the latest Orange County city to enact a law banning registered sex offenders from parks and playgrounds following action by the City Council Monday night.

The city modeled its child safety zone ordinance after the county's enacted in April to keep perverts out of regional parks and other places that attract children.

After the county Board of Supervisors passed the law written by Supervisor Shawn Nelson and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the DA and supervisors sent letters to leaders of Orange County's 34 incorporated cities suggesting they do the same. Westminster enacted an ordinance modeled after the county ban in May, while Irvine the next month adopted a law that only bans sex offenders whose rap sheets include crimes against children.


Like council members in other cities that have postponed or not yet fully approved bans, Irvine's majority feared the complete ban advocated by the county may not ultimately pass constitutional muster. Some Irvine leaders also felt a problem that does not exist was being created by the law as the city has few registered sex offenders living there and no reports of children being sexually victimized in local parks.

Nonetheless, as the council there and in other cities have taken up the issue, representatives of the county, the DA's office and the sheriff's department have shown up to publicly lobby for support of the total bans created by Nelson and T-Rack. Senior Assistant District Attorney Mary Anne McCauley appeared before the La Habra City Council Monday night.

As you'd expect, Rackauckas applauds La Habra's move in a statement issued by his office last night.

"The City of La Habra took a big step today in protecting children from dangerous sexually deviant predators by creating this safety zone," the DA states. "This law will discourage sex offenders from going to parks in La Habra, where they could have easy access to children and potentially get acquainted with them in the grooming process. I hope that other cities follow the leadership shown by the La Habra mayor and council members and pass a similar ordinance in their cities."

Like the county ordinance, which subjects registered sex offenders to fines, misdemeanors and possible jail time if they do not get permission from the Orange County Sheriff's Department before entering a regional park or recreational area, pervs in La Habra must now receive clearance from the local police department lest they face similar penalties. In both the city and the county, fines can be high as $500 for the first infraction, and the time behind bars can be as long as 90 days. 

The La Habra ordinance follows on the next page:
 
ORDINANCE NO. 1726

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LA HABRA ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA ADDING CHAPTER 9 66 TO TITLE 9 OF THE LA HABRA MUNICIPAL CODE ESTABLISHING CITY PARKS AS CHILD SAFETY ZONES WHERE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION

WHEREAS, on April 5, 2011, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a new Ordinance to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders, and

WHEREAS, the April 5 2011 County of Orange Ordinance prohibits registered sex offenders from entering County parks without written permission from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, but does not apply to any City parks that are located in Orange County, and

WHEREAS, the City of La Habra finds that it is appropriate and necessary to extend this prohibition to City of La Habra parks to establish Child Safety Zones in the City of La Habra to further protect children from sexual predators m areas where children frequent,

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LA HABRA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1 Chapter 9 66 of Title 9 of the La Habra Municipal Code is hereby added as follows:

Chapter 9 66    ESTABLISHING CITY PARKS AS CHILD SAFETY ZONES AND PROHIBITING SEX OFFENDERS FROM ENTERING CITY PARKS WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LA HABRA POLICE DEPARTMENT.

Sections

9 66 010 Purpose and Intent
9 66 020 Definitions
9 66 030 Prohibitions
9 66 040 Penalties for Violations
9 66 050 Other prosecution authorized
9 66 060 Severability

9 66 010 Purpose and Intent

It is the purpose and intent of this ordinance to protect children from registered sex offenders by restricting sex offenders' access to locations where children regularly gather. It is intended to reduce the risk of harm to children by impacting the ability of sex offenders to be in contact with children. It is further the intent of this ordinance to provide additional restrictions beyond those provided for in state law by restricting sex offenders from certain locations and by allowing for criminal penalties for violations of this ordinance. It is not the intent of this ordinance to allow conduct otherwise prohibited by state law, or to contradict state law. City of La Habra parks are recognized by the County of Orange Board of Supervisor as locations where children regularly gather.

9 66 020 Definitions

City of La Habra Parks. For purpose of this ordinance a City of La Habra park is defined as any City-owned, leased, operated or maintained land before or after the effective dates of this ordinance by the City of La Habra as a recreation area including but not limited to, Brio Park, Constitution Plaza, Corona Park, Descanso Park, EI Centro-Lions Park, Esteli Park, Guadalupe Park, La Bonita Park, Las Lomas Park, Leslie Park, Loma Norte Park, Loma Verde Park, Montwood Park, Oeste Park ,Old Reservoir Park, Old Settlers' Park, Osornio Park, Portola Park, Richard's Park, San Miguel de Allende Park, Terraza Park, Town Center Park, Vista Grande Park, and Vista del Valle Park.

9 66 030 Prohibitions

Any person required to register pursuant to California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. who enters into or upon any City of La Habra park where children regularly gather without written permission from the La Habra Police Department is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each entry into any such area regardless of the time period between entries, shall constitute a separate offense under this ordinance.

9 66 040 Penalties for violation

Punishment for a violation of this section shall be as follows:

(1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county fail for a period of not more than six month, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or by both imprisonment and a fine.

(2) Upon a second conviction, by imprisonment in a county fail for a period of not less than ten (10) days and not more than six months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500). Upon a second conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ten (10) days.

(3) Upon a third or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment in a county fail for period of not less than ninety (90) days and not more than six months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500). Upon a third or subsequent conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ninety (90) days.

9 66 050 Other prosecution authorized

Nothing in this ordinance shall preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.

9 66 060 Severability

If any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed severable and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof. The Mayor and City council of the City of La Habra hereby declares that it would have adopted this ordinance irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof and intends that the invalid portions should be severed and the balance of the ordinance be enforced.

SECTION 2     The City Clerk shall certify to the passage and adoption of this ordinance and cause the same to be published in the manner required by law This ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days from and after its passage.


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