Indianapolis will stop arresting sex offenders at public playgrounds after a federal judge warned that the ban is unconstitutional, reports the Indianapolis Star. U.S. District Judge Richard Young issued a preliminary injunction, which bars the city from enforcing the law — passed 25-2 by the City-County Council in May — until the lawsuit is decided.
Indianapolis’ ordinance is one of the country’s most restrictive. It bans offenders from going within 1,000 feet of public playgrounds, as well as gathering spots such as swimming pools and youth centers when children are present. Repeat violations can bring fines of as much as $2,500. An exemption that allows offenders accompanied by an adult who is not a sex offender to visit these sites is too vague to enforce, the judge said. He said the law also fails to make clear whether private playgrounds or facilities catering to children are affected. If so, the law would apply to at least 330 parks, schools and other places. “There are few, if any, areas in the City of Indianapolis that can be traveled through or into that will not result in the traveler passing within 1,000 feet (of one),” Young wrote. Constitutional violations cited by Young include punishing offenders a second time for their crimes and preventing some from voting at polling places inside schools or near playgrounds.