Is Orange County's new law banning registered sex offenders from county-owned parks a bust?
Last year, in a closely watched case, Hugo Godinez, a registered sex offender from Santa Ana, was found guilty of entering Fountain Valley's Mile Square Park, a misdemeanor offense that earned him 100 days in jail and five years of formal probation.
But, two weeks ago, an Orange County Superior Court appellate panel overturned the conviction, saying the county park ban was trumped by a similar but less restrictive state law. The panel sent the case to the Court of Appeal.
But District Attorney Tony Rackauckas remains undeterred. On Thursday, he issued a statement saying the Godinez ruling "does not apply to other pending or future prosecutions" resulting from the O.C. law.
"We will continue to review cases involving sex offenders in parks as they are presented on a case-by-case basis," Rackauckas said. "We also hope to present our position concerning preemption to the Court of Appeal and receive its decision on this important issue.”
To read more about Godinez's defense and the debate over whether Orange County's law is constitutional, check out OC Weekly's analysis of the issue.