7th Circuit: “Hartford City sex offender ordinance unconstitutionally vague”

First the 6th; then the 4th; now the 7th!…

Source: http://bit.ly/2gYlcXy...

A 2008 Hartford City ordinance that restricted registered sex offenders from entering or loitering within 300 feet of broadly defined “child safety zones” is unconstitutionally vague, a federal judge has ruled.

Brian Valenti challenged a 2008 ordinance after he moved to the Blackford County community in 2014 with his wife and minor child. Valenti was required to register as a sex offender for his 1993 California conviction of a sex offense involving a child under the age of 14.

The Hartford City ordinance, which was amended in 2015, imposed a fine of up to $200 per offense for registered sex offenders who entered or loitered within 300 feet of parks, schools, public libraries, arcades, amusement centers, swimming pools, child care facilities, athletic complexes, crisis centers or shelters, skate parks or rinks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, scouting facilities or the office of protective services.

Valenti argued the local ordinance caused him to curtail activities with his child. He said he was given a citation while a passenger in his brother’s car while the car was parked at his brother’s house across the street from a school.

Judge Theresa Springmann in the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, granted Valenti summary judgment in part, finding the ordinance violates Indiana’s ex post facto law as applied to Valenti, and that it’s unconstitutionally vague.

The ordinance “encouraged arbitrary enforcement by failing to describe with sufficient particularity what activity violated the ordinance” and was “unconstitutionally vague on its face,” Springmann wrote in an order issued Thursday.

Though Springmann wrote that she was troubled by the amended ordinance that sought to clarify who could be subject to fines and further define prohibited loitering, she stopped short of striking the revised city code. She did forbid Hartford City, though, from ordering fines under the amended ordinance, finding its language also violates the 14th Amendment.

Springmann said a future conference will be set to consider Valenti’s damages. The case is Brian Valenti et al. v. Hartford City, Indiana, 1:15-cv-63.

3 comments for “7th Circuit: “Hartford City sex offender ordinance unconstitutionally vague”

  1. December 19, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Actually court systems are human and err but court systems don’t want to admit it. Just like other human’s want to be right and very vague when it comes to this type of conviction of a sex offense of an internet nature.
    I do not know about physical contact if the laws are different in those situations but would say that the nation as a whole don’t know the whole picture of what the sex offender or suppose sex offender ordeal is all about and that is one reason that justice and true justice has to be more important than this sex offender “one shot Charlie “deal

  2. Phoebe Carpenter
    December 6, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Personally, I think should be a national news story called, “Merry Christmas from NC” and bring some national attention to the “good people of NC”. To help make the story news worthy, organize a few human right advocates to picket the house when officials come to the home, or picket the office of the governor and give a lump of coal to the governor for every day he has to live in a tent, (and make sure that the lump of coal is broadcast in the news).

    Tonight I light a candle for the compassion of NC.

  3. Should've struck it down
    December 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Why did she stop short of an outright striking down of the law? To avoid an appeal perhaps to a higher court? Did she watch the 6th’s efforts and maybe Pennsylvania’s efforts too? This is interesting, but she should have struck it down. Judges need to stop being afraid of doing that.

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