Residency restrictions lawsuit settled in favor of three registrants

By Patty Dexter . . . The city of Apple Valley has agreed to settle a class action federal lawsuit filed in 2020 that challenges the constitutionality of a 2017 city ordinance that limits where some sex offenders can live in the community.

The Apple Valley City Council, without discussion, approved a settlement agreement as part of the consent agenda during its March 25 meeting. . . .

“Although the city disagrees with the premise of the challenge to the ordinance’s constitutionality and maintains that the ordinance is appropriately enforced, the city felt it was in the best interests of the parties to resolve the case. This resolution avoids additional time, expense, and uncertainties of the litigation process. Also, this settlement does not affect the lawful authority of the ordinance, going forward,” the statement [by City Administrator Tom Lawell] says. . . .

In the original lawsuit filed Feb. 12, 2020, three unnamed sex offenders sought an injunction to prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance. They also sought judgment to recover attorney’s fees and costs incurred in bringing the action.

The lawsuit alleged that the restrictions imposed by the ordinance “are so severe that they effectively ban individuals subject to the ordinance’s restrictions from residing anywhere in Apple Valley,” according to court documents.

The attorneys representing the offenders argued the ordinance violates the Constitution’s ex post facto clause, the lawsuit said. According to Cornell Law School, the clause prohibits governments from passing laws that “retroactively criminalize behavior.”

Read the full article here at the Sun.



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