Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana's legal director, said the city ordinance effectively restores the long-discarded, punitive practice of "banishment," because it is virtually impossible to travel the streets and highways of Marion County without passing within 1,000 feet of a public playground or other prohibited site.
Drive on I-65 and you pass the Velodrome and a skate park, Falk said. "You can't get from point A to point B in Indianapolis without being in violation."
The suit gives anonymous examples of former offenders who would be hurt by the ordinance. There's the man who received counseling and was awarded joint custody of his son, now 7 years old. The pair frequently visits parks and other recreational centers. Because the man is employed at a place within 1,000 feet of a park, he would breach the ordinance by going to work, the suit says.
Another man votes at a public school within range of a sports field. Because he is not eligible to cast an absentee ballot, the new restrictions would keep him from voting, the suit says. Falk said that even the ordinance's exemption -- lifting the restrictions if the former offender is accompanied by an adult with no record of sex crimes -- is problematic.
Falk said the term "accompanied" is not defined in the ordinance. "If you're within five feet, if you're within 10 feet, if you go with someone and they have to go to the bathroom, do you have to go to the bathroom with them?" he asked.
Well, there you have it. Carl Brizzi and Melina Kennedy got their press releases, and the taxpayers get stuck with a big legal bill to defend an indefensible ordinance in the courts. And not one child will be saved from being a victim.