Criminal Justice

Pedophile Order Is Invalid, Case Dropped

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A California judge’s unusual order prohibiting a self-described pedophile from getting within 10 yards of the state’s children is invalid, according to Los Angeles prosecutors. But an attorney who persuaded a judge to issue the order earlier this month says the real problem is prosecutors looking for an excuse not to try Jack McClellan for allegedly violating it.

Under state law, a temporary restraining order only applies for 22 days, and an additional hearing must be held during that time to decide whether to terminate it or make it permanent, explains the Los Angeles Times. Because Superior Court Judge Melvin Sandvig did not hold such a hearing before issuing the three-year order Aug. 3, city prosecutors determined it is not enforceable, according to the Times and the Associated Press.

Hence, McClellan was released from jail yesterday. “He violated the order, but the court was procedurally defective, so we had to dismiss the case,” said Nick Velasquez, a city attorney spokesman. However, Anthony Zinnanti, a lawyer who successfully sought the order from Superior Court Judge Melvin Sandvig, said the city attorney deliberately misinterpreted it as covering a three-year period to avoid trying McClellan. “I am completely outraged,” he told the Times. “They dropped the ball.”

Legal experts say the restraining order probably violates the First Amendment, according to the Times.

McClellan, who openly admits he is attracted to underage girls, but says he hasn’t acted on that attraction except by looking at and photographing them in public places, was arrested twice on Aug. 13, as discussed in a previous post. The second charge, for trespassing, was dropped earlier, AP says.

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