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Iowa High Court keeps sex offender safety zone around schools, day cares

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday once again upheld the controversial state law that requires convicted sex offenders to live at least 2,000 feet away from a school or child care center.

In ruling on a Polk County case involving Benjamin David Groves, the court said the state law does not violate his constitutional due process rights.

Court documents said Groves, 29, was convicted of lascivious acts with a child in 1997. In 2002, the Iowa Legislature passed a law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

In January 2006 Groves was charged with violating the law for living too close to a school.

He filed a motion to dismiss the charge claiming the residency law severely restricted his liberty rights, which he defined as the "right to reside somewhere that meets basic 21st century living standards."

District Court Judge Carol Egly dismissed the charge saying "residency restrictions are a severe restriction of the defendant's liberty rights."

Democratic leaders in the Legislature have said they may consider toughening the state's sex offender laws next year.

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