[JURIST] The Indiana Court of Appeals [official website] Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that a 2006 state law [Indiana Code 35-42-4-11 text] barring convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, public park or youth center is unconstitutional as applied to offenders who purchased their homes before the law went into effect. The ruling upholds a lower court decision finding that the law constituted ex post facto punishment since it was not illegal for the registered offenders to buy their houses at the time of purchase. AP has more.
Courts in other states have also overturned or restricted laws seeking to limit residences available to registered sex offenders. Last November, the Supreme Court of Georgia [official website] unanimously overturned [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] a state law that prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and other areas where children gather. Civil rights groups had criticized the law [legislative materials] as overly strict, saying that the state's roughly 11,000 registered sex offenders would have been barred from living in almost any residential area. In February 2007 a federal judge ruled that California's Proposition 83 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive], which prohibited California sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any place where children regularly gather, could not be applied retroactively [JURIST report] to more than 90,000 paroled sex offenders because there was nothing in the measure that indicated that intent.