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Judge Rules State Law Trumps Local Ordinances On Sex Offenders

Many Municipalities Have Rules Limiting Where Sex Offenders Can Live


A recent ruling by a Milwaukee county judge could invalidate a patchwork of local zoning ordinances across the state that restrict where sex offenders can live.

Last week, Judge Dennis Moroney ruled that the local ordinances barring sex offenders from living close to schools, parks, and churches make it impossible to enforce the state law that requires offenders be placed in their home county after they’ve served their sentences.

Bob Peterson of the state public defender’s office said the order makes it clear that state law trumps the local rules.

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“Because the ordinances together violated the ability of the Department of Health Services to place people pursuant to law, that they were superseded by law and therefore must be struck,” Peterson said.

The order only affects the placement of two offenders being released from the Sandridge Secure Treatment Center but it paves the way for striking down ordinances in other cities as well.

The state Legislature may take up a bill that would create uniform statewide restrictions for placing sex offenders .