Lake Forest is considering a repeal of the sex offender ban they passed a year ago. The original Lake Forest ordinance banned registered sex offenders from city parks and was modeled on a law passed in April 2011 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. However, the constitutionality of the Lake Forest law is now being challenged and the lawsuit may cost the city of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Registered sex offenders constitute 0.0005 percent of the population of Lake Forest and the Lake Forest ordinance has never been used since it came into effect. Given that the city council admits that the law has not bolstered public safety, the city is considering a repeal of the law.
Lake Forest is one 15 Orange County cities that have passed some kind of sex offender ban. Most of these cities passed sex offender bans based on the request of the Orange County District Attorney’s office. In fact, the Orange County District Attorney’s office is urging Lake Forest not to repeal their ban. Lake Forest, however, may be taking into account the case of Hugo Godinez.
Hugo Godinez was a registered sex offender who had been arrested in May 2011 for entering Miles Square Park in Fountain Valley in violation of a city ban. Godinez was convicted for violating the city ban but on November 15, 2012, the Court of Appeal reversed his conviction. The court stated that state law takes precedence over county law when it comes to restrictions on sex offenders.
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