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California Supreme Court Upholds Parts of Jessica's Law

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 02, 2010 10:02 AM

The California Supreme Court rejected several constitutional challenges to Jessica's Law, which is designed to keep sex offenders from living near parks, schools and other places where children gather.

According to the Associated Press, a 5-2 court ruled that Jessica's Law (Proposition 83) does not violate the rights of sex offenders to apply the law retroactively if they were on parole when the law was adopted.

In addition, the high court ordered more hearings to determine claims by four ex-convicts who say they cannot find a place to live because of residency restrictions. The court ruled that it was not presented with enough evidence to support or refute their claims.

There are about 3,884 parolees subject to Jessica's Law, and 718 of them have declared themselves homeless, according to the court.

As previously discussed, the Supreme Court has questioned the legality of Jessica's Law and whether sex predators should be treated differently from other violent offenders.

The Supreme Court, however, did not rule on whether the Jessica's Law is so overbroad and vague that it violates the sex offenders' constitutional rights, the most sweeping legal question posed by the challenge to the law.

Currently, about 20 states have similar residency restrictions, which have been met with mixed review. Many question the effectiveness and the legality of the laws.

The justices have sent the issue back to the trial courts because several factual issues must be presented to evaluate the merits of that constitutional claim. They also ordered more hearings to determine if locking up sexually violent predators indefinitely may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection.

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