Lawsuit

Group Tries to File Lawsuit Against SDPD for In-Person Sex Offender Registration Amid Pandemic

The lawsuit asks for a judge to issue an order halting the practice of having registered sex offenders appear in person at San Diego Police Department headquarters

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An attorney attempted to file a lawsuit against the San Diego Police Department on behalf of more than 100 local sex offender registrants who are challenging requirements that they must register in person during the coronavirus pandemic, while state and local governments ask that residents stay home to prevent the virus' spread.

The lawsuit from the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws was denied by the San Diego Superior Court, according to a spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office. The group attempted to file the claim under an emergency writ.

The lawsuit attempted to ask a judge to issue an order halting the practice of having registered sex offenders appear in person at San Diego Police Department headquarters, and instead adopt video conferencing or telephonic updates, as implemented by the Los Angeles Police Department and other state agencies during the pandemic.

"The Court did not accept the filing as (an emergency measures exception) applies to people who are under orders of quarantine and want to challenge such orders," the spokesperson said.

Plaintiffs' attorneys said the registrants represented in the suit "have high-risk COVID-19 factors such as age and/or chronic diseases (diabetes, asthma and hypertension)."

Per the California Sex Offender Registration Act, offenders are required by law to provide periodic updates to local law enforcement regarding the registrant's personal information. Some registrants must update law enforcement every 30 days, while others must only provide annual updates.

An SDPD spokesman said the department could not comment.

The San Diego Superior Court said it did not accept a filing an attorney attempted to submit that would have purported to have fallen under the emergency writs that challenges COVID-19 emergency measures exception for filing.

That exception only applies to individuals under orders of quarantine and who want to challenge such orders.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the group attempted to file the lawsuit under and emergency filing in Superior Court but the court did not accept the filing.

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