Englewood's restrictions on where sex offenders can live ruled unconstitutional

DENVER - The Englewood ordinance that limits where convicted sex offenders can live has been overturned in federal district court.

The ordinance banned people convicted of certain sex offenses from living within 2,000 feet of any school, park, or playground, or 1,000 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, according to the ACLU.

"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."

The Sex Offender Management Board 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, according to the ACLU.

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 said.

"We will talk to our legal department on Monday and let them tell us what our next steps will be," said Randy Penn, the mayor of Englewood. "What we want to do is make sure our children are safe. I think that's the most important part."

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