An activist working to reform municipal and county sex-offender restriction laws in California is now targeting the City of Westminster, according to a federal lawsuit.
Frank Lindsay, convicted of a sex-related offense in 1979, is using Santa Maria attorney Janice M. Bellucci to challenge a Westminster ordinance that imposes life-long bans on registered sex offenders whose crime involved a child from entering any area of the city "where children regularly gather" without written government permission.
The first violation of the ordinance risks criminal charges and up to six months in jail; a second violation requires a minimum 10-day jail trip; and a third violation brings a mandatory, minimum 90-day county jail lockup.
Lindsay and Bellucci, who filed their lawsuit inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, say Westminster's rules violate both U.S. and California constitutions by improperly restraining civil liberties at locations including "parks, schools, beaches, harbors, zoos and other recreational facilities."
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, a conservative Republican and former superior court judge, vigorously backed toughening such ordinances for several years, but state courts have tossed out his inspired bans imposed by the City of Irvine and by the OC Board of Supervisors.
"The [Westminster] ordinance is an arbitrary and politically motivated act imposed by a local government in response to popular bias against [sex-offender] registrants who constitute a socially outcast minority and lends itself to discriminatory enforcement as well as the suppression of the constitutional rights of registrants and any individuals who reside or travel with them, including but not limited to spouses and minor children," the lawsuit asserts.
Lindsay wants the city "enjoined in perpetuity from enforcing" the ban.
Officials in Westminster, home to Little Saigon, have not yet responded in court to the Aug. 29 lawsuit.
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter will preside over the case.