NEW: (# Failure to Register Technicality
NEW: Failure to Register a Sex Offense???
CAUTION: SORNA EFFECTIVE even if state has not enacted it
Plea Bargains: Santabello v New York
Blog also contains "Unfavorable" and "Informational" decisions and relevant news articles. All can be useful in framing arguments for new court actions. (i.e., avoid pitfalls or inform courts.) Or refuting charges, check facts of cases v yours.
Leagle is our main court decision resource.
Find State decisions by the Federal Circuit a State is in.

CAUTION: Decisions are meant to be educational.
For "Personal Life Decisions" consult with a lawyer.

Ryals v City of Englewood

8-21-2013 Colorado:

Ryals v City of Englewood and HERE

UPDATE 8-27-13: Englewood to appeal sexual offender decision

Update 1-25-16: CO Sup Ct Decision on Appeal Not Good

(UPDATE: 2014: Residency law reinstated with different distances. See way below)

This case was tried to the Court from July 22 to 25, 2013. Plaintiff Stephen Brett Ryals challenges the constitutionality of the City of Englewood’s Ordinance 34, which restricts where certain sex offenders—including Mr. Ryals—may reside. Mr. Ryals brings five claims under three theories, arguing that the ordinance
  • (1) is preempted by state sex offender regulations,
  • (2) retroactively and punitively changes the legal consequences of his original conviction, and
  • (3) deprives him of his liberty without due process of law.
The Court finds that the Englewood ordinance in its present form is preempted by Colorado state law.

... ... ...

Order
For the foregoing reasons, the Court directs that final judgment be entered in favor of the plaintiff, Stephen Ryals, and against the defendant, the City of Englewood. As the prevailing party, the plaintiff is awarded his reasonable costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) and D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.1.

DATED this 21th day of August, 2013.


Order on Attorney's Fees and Costs (June 2014)

Plaintiff moves for an award of attorney's fees and certain costs not previously assessed. The parties have submitted several affidavits in support of their respective positions and have not requested an evidentiary hearing or oral argument. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court awards attorney's fees (to Plaintiff RSO) in the amount of $429,999.50 and additional costs in the amount of $16,618.13.

News Articles Below


Englewood’s Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Ruled Unconstitutional (Aug 2013)

DENVER – In a case brought by ACLU attorneys, a federal district court yesterday invalidated an Englewood ordinance that restricts where persons convicted of certain sex offenses can live, ruling that the ordinance violates the Colorado Constitution.

Englewood’s ordinance makes it a crime for persons convicted of certain sex offenses to live within 2000 feet of any school, park, or playground, or 1000 feet of any licensed day care center, recreation center or swimming pool, or any property located next to a bus stop, walk-to-school route, or recreational trail.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that the ordinance “leaves essentially no place for offenders to live” and pushes sex offenders into neighboring cities, causing an impermissible conflict with “the state interest in the uniform treatment, management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of sex offenders during and after state supervision.”

“Local ordinances that ban sex offenders from living in a particular community provide a false sense of security,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “As the State Sex Offender Management Board has noted, these ordinances don’t prevent sex offenses and they don’t increase safety. Instead, they make communities less safe by interfering with offenders’ efforts to reintegrate into safe, stable, and supportive environments. And when town after town enacts similar restrictions, it poses the risk that sex offenders are driven underground and disconnected from treatment and supervision.”

The Sex Offender Management Board (“SOMB”), which is charged by the state legislature with evaluating and treating sex offenders, has urged communities not to enact local residency restrictions because blanket restrictions cause offenders to drop out of the statewide registration system and prevent offenders from successfully reintegrating into society.

The ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Brett Ryals, who was unaware of the ordinance when he bought a home in Englewood in 2012. Mr. Ryals had served a two-year sentence from a 2001 felony conviction and had completed state-mandated treatment, rehabilitation, and parole. When he attempted to comply with his legal obligation to register his new address, he was informed that he was not permitted to live in Englewood.

The ruling will likely impact other Colorado jurisdictions, including Greenwood Village, Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Commerce City and Greeley, that have adopted similar ordinances.

The ACLU legal team, led by ACLU Cooperating Attorney Dan Williams of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, also included Jennifer Sullivan, Hetal Doshi, Shelby Myers, and ACLU Staff Attorney Sara Rich. ..Source.. by ACLU Press Release



U.S. judge overturns Colorado city's sex offender residency law (Aug 2013)

A federal judge has struck down a Colorado city's ordinance that restricts where registered sex offenders can reside, ruling that it conflicts with a state law requiring parolees to be reintegrated into society.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson in Denver ruled that the city of Englewood, a Denver suburb, could not impose restrictions that "leave essentially no place for such offenders to live for all intents and purposes."

The city's ordinance barred convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or playgrounds, or within 1,000 feet of day-care facilities, recreation centers and trails, swimming pools, bus stops and school routes.

Jackson noted in his 24-page opinion that cities may impose reasonable constraints on where sex offenders can live, but he said Englewood and five other Colorado cities with similar laws have gone too far.

"In theory, every city and county could enact a similar 'not in my backyard' ordinance and effectively ban sex offenders ... from the entire state," he said.

A number of local governments and states across the country have enacted laws banning sex offenders from living near parks and schools, including California, Texas, Kentucky, Florida and Georgia.

The ruling stemmed from the case of Brett Ryals, a former soccer coach who was sentenced to seven years on probation after pleading guilty to having an unlawful sexual relationship with an underage girl who was one of his players.

Ryals was sentenced to two years in prison after violating his probation by continuing to see his victim. He completed his sentence and other requirements and was ultimately paroled.

He then purchased a home in Englewood. But when he registered as required with police in the suburb of 30,000 people south of Denver, he was told that his residence was within a restricted area.

A lawsuit challenging the restrictions was brought on his behalf by the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Mark Silverstein, the ACLU's legal director in Colorado, said cities that pass such laws provide "a false sense of security" to their residents.

"Instead, they make communities less safe by interfering with offenders' efforts to reintegrate into safe, stable, and supportive environments," Silverstein said. "And when town after town enacts similar restrictions, it poses the risk that sex offenders are driven underground and disconnected from treatment and supervision."

Jackson said the ordinance pushes offenders into neighboring communities, creating a conflict with the "the state interest in the uniform treatment, management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of sex offenders during and after state supervision."

Officials from Denver also complained that Englewood's policy was forcing offenders into their city, he added.

Silverstein said the ACLU has challenged similar laws in other states, but the Colorado case was different because the agency charged by the state legislature with monitoring paroled sex offenders publicly opposed the measures in Englewood and other towns.

"What sets this apart is the Sex Offender Management Board urged them (municipalities) not to enact theses ordinances," he said.

Englewood's deputy city manager, Michael Flaherty, said the city's legal staff was reviewing the opinion before deciding its next step. ..Source.. by Keith Coffman



Sex offenders have to live somewhere (Aug 2013)

Federal Judge R. Brooke Jackson did all of Colorado a favor this week when he struck down an Englewood ordinance that pretty much barred sex offenders from living in that city.

"Few sex offenders are incarcerated for life," Jackson noted. "Most will at some point return to the community, and there must be a place for them to live."

And yet, he noted, Englewood's ordinance "leaves essentially no place for offenders to live" — thereby conflicting with the state interest in the "uniform treatment, management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of sex offenders during and after state supervision."

The judge is clearly right about this. If Englewood can effectively banish all sex offenders, then there's nothing to stop every other town and city in Colorado from doing the same thing.

No doubt some might find this an attractive solution. After all, didn't Britain and France simply export a portion of their criminal element once upon a time to places like Devil's Island and Australia? Indeed they did — and there's a reason they stopped more than a century ago: It's not civilized.

And it wouldn't be fair to other states either.

Moreover, registered sex offenders have already served their time.

We certainly don't disparage Englewood's motives. City officials passed the ordinance in 2006 after they heard that the Colorado parole board intended to place a "sexually violent predator" in a hotel that was a block from a day-care center. So they fashioned an ordinance modeled on one in neighboring Greenwood Village that barred registered sex offenders from living withing 2,000 feet of "any school, park or playground or within 1,000 feet of any licensed day care center, recreation center or swimming pool."

Trouble is, that pretty much ruled out the entire city when combined with other restrictions in the ordinance. Englewood itself acknowledged at trial that only 126 residential addresses remained possible homes for sex offenders, while the ACLU's attorneys produced an expert who maintained the true figure was 55 addresses.

The result of the ordinance was predictable. As the judge noted, the vast majority of sex offenders who wished to live in Englewood "relocated to another city" rather than risk the sanction. It's as if Englewood — along with Greenwood Village, Lone Tree, Castle Rock and other communities with similar laws — thinks it somehow deserves an exemption to state law that clearly contemplates sex offenders being integrated into communities.

All such ordinances presumably will now have to be revised.

Don't misunderstand: Judge Jackson was very clear that he was not barring Englewood from adopting any ordinance relating to sex-offender residency.

Cities may impose reasonable restrictions that distinguish violent predators from other offenders, for example, and impose reasonable off-limit zones next to places that children frequent.

But if they're going to be fair to neighboring cities as well as faithful to Colorado law, they can't bar them from 99 percent of their residential properties.

"Either way," the judge noted, "approximately 99 percent of the city is off-limits to most sex offenders." ..Source.. by The Denver Post Editorial Board



Sex offender residency restrictions being scaled back (5-2014)

Less than 10 years after many cities rushed to draw restrictions and boundaries on where registered sex offenders could live, the trend is now reversing after a court case ruled one city's restrictions in conflict of state interests.

Englewood's 2006 ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live "impermissibly conflicts with the application and effectuation of the state interest in the uniform treatment, management, rehabilitation and reintegration of sex offenders," wrote U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson in his order.

The order was published in August after a lawsuit on behalf of a sex offender who bought a house in Englewood. The order states that restrictive "not in my backyard ordinances" can have a domino effect, eventually forbidding any sex offenders from living anywhere in Colorado.

The Englewood city ordinance stated that sex offenders convicted of a felony had to be at least 2,000 feet away from schools, parks and playgrounds and at least 1,000 feet away from any day care, recreation center or public swimming pool.

In the city of almost 7 square miles, that made 99 percent of the city's residences off limits.

"Our ordinance was not changed. It's essentially unenforceable now," said Michael Flaherty, Englewood's deputy city manager.

Hoping to avoid a similar lawsuit, Greeley changed its rules in February to scale back on some restrictions.

On Monday, Commerce City has a second-reading vote to approve a new ordinance.

Greenwood Village, among the first to enact restrictions and the basis for Englewood's laws, is waiting to see how the Englewood case plays out in court.

Flaherty said Englewood filed an appeal in September and also has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to advise the appeals court. The court responded last month, accepting the case.

The lawsuit against the city was filed when Stephen Brett Ryals, who bought a house in Englewood with his wife, was later told he couldn't live there.

The same thing happened later to another man in Commerce City.

"We didn't know whether we wanted to wait or whether we wanted to change the ordinance, so we worked with the ACLU," Commerce City Deputy City Attorney Karen Stevens said.

The American Civil Liberties Union had stepped in to help the men in both cases, and provided studies and resources for Commerce City as city officials drafted the new ordinance that council is expected to approve Monday.

As part of the changes, Commerce City now will have an application process for sex offenders who aren't sexually violent predators to seek exception from the rules. Officials would evaluate the request and the public safety threat on a case-by-case basis.



ORDINANCE 2014:

7-3-3: Prohibitions.

A.It shall be unlawful for:
i.Any person who has been found to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to 18-3-414.5 C.R.S.; or

ii.Any person required to register under the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act, C.R.S. Section 16-22-101, et. seq. who has been:
a.Convicted of a felony for an offense requiring registration; or

b.Has multiple convictions for offenses requiring registration; or

c.Whose offense(s) requiring registration involved multiple victims

to establish a permanent residence or temporary residence within two thousand feet (2,000') of any school, park, or playground or within one thousand feet (1,000') of any licensed day care center, recreation center or swimming pool (other than pools located at private, single-family residences), or any property located adjacent to any designated public or private school bus stop, walk-to-school route, or recreational trail.

B.It is unlawful to let or rent any portion of any property, place, structure, trailer or other vehicle with the knowledge that it will be used as a permanent or temporary residence by any person prohibited from establishing such permanent or temporary residence pursuant to this Chapter.(Ord. 06-34, § 1, 9-18-06)

7-3-4: Exceptions.
A person is not guilty of a violation of this Section if:
A.The person established the permanent or temporary residence prior to the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that this exception shall not apply if the person committed the offense, for which registration under the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act is required, after the effective date of this chapter;

B.The person is placed in the residence pursuant to a State of Colorado foster care program; or

C.The school, designated public or private school bus stop, walk-to-school route, licensed day care center, park, playground, swimming pool, recreational trail or recreation center was opened after the person established the permanent or temporary residence, and is not replacing an existing school, designated public or private school bus stop, walk-to-school route, licensed day care center, park, playground, swimming pool, recreational trail or recreation center.


No comments: