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CA: Federal lawsuit challenges Simi Valley Halloween sex offender law for second time

[Ventura County Star]

For the second time in five years, a federal lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of a Simi Valley law that bars registered sex offenders listed on the Megan’s Law website from opening their doors to trick-or-treating children on Halloween.

The law, enacted by the City Council in September 2012, also forbids the registered sex offenders from decorating the outside of their homes or front lawns with Halloween ornaments and mandates that they turn off outdoor lighting on their properties from 5 p.m. to midnight on Halloween.

The law initially required the sex offenders to post a sign on their front door on Halloween that stated, “No candy or treats at this residence.” But in a settlement stemming from a 2012 federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, the city agreed not to enforce the sign requirement.

The latest lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by a Simi Valley registered sex offender and his mother, brother and daughter, all of whom live in the same home. The mother, brother and daughter are not registered sex offenders. All are identified in the suit as John Does.

The suit, brought on behalf of the defendants by a group called the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws, names as defendants the city and Simi Valley Police Chief Dave Livingstone.

It seeks a permanent injunction barring the city from enforcing all provisions of the law. It also asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional, under both the U.S. and the California constitutions.

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Join the discussion

  1. James

    Thank you Janice, Chance and ACSOL staff…the good you do for us is unending; like protective soldiers on the ramparts looking out into the hazy darkness for danger…you are there for us, fighting our battles…

    While a number of us are torn over the effects, still mostly unknown, of SB 384…we respect you and DEPEND on your day to day constant efforts to keep us safe.

    Thank you again. (Yes, I hit the tip jar last week…lol…be good)

    Best Wishes, James

  2. AJ

    “We just send out a copy of the ordinance to all of our registered sex offenders, just making them aware of it,” [the City Attorney] said. “We have never enforced it and no threat of arrest was ever given.”

    Yes, and this is the duplicitous way in which they operate. Claiming it’s never been enforced…yet keeping it on the books as a huge club to use against a RC whenever they see fit. If it’s never been enforced, why keep it on the books? Oh yeah, because you want to use the mere threat of it. Having a fuzzy line which triggers enforcement, and which no RC can ascertain, suits the city quite well, I’m sure. What a completely slimy answer from the city attorney.

  3. totally against public registry

    Yes, once again Janice to the rescue! Thank you for always standing up for the under-served, under-cared and highly feared.
    If they keep the laws on the books, then they intend to use them. Can never trust the law enforcement, the legal system or the public at large for doing the right thing and obeying the laws themselves.

    Please everyone, use wise judgement whenever there is a question about these laws

  4. G4Change

    Oh, so there are “voluntary laws” now. Maybe registering should be considered “voluntary” too since, heck, it’s just like a Price Club membership, right?
    These lying, backpedaling, POS cops MAKE ME SICK!
    I’m not advocating violence, but I smile big when I see protests against cops on TV. We need more of this! (again, I’m not advocating violence…just the protest part).

    Also, If this law is deemed unconstitutional, can it be blocked in other states? In some states, we are virtually under house arrest and are forced to stay in our homes. This has to be unconstitutional!!!!!

    • AJ

      @G4Change:
      Since it’s a federal lawsuit involving violation of the federal Constitution, it can “sort of” be used. I say sort of, because any decision out of the Ninth Circuit is only binding upon the Ninth Circuit. Used anywhere else, it would only be persuasive. This means it could be raised and used, but whatever Circuit you’re in is free to make its own decision. Granted, a conflict between the Ninth and your Circuit would warm the topic to SCOTUS review, though now guarantee. The only Federal court with nationally binding decisions across the federal Circuits is SCOTUS.

      • G4Change

        Thank you, AJ. I hope it will affect other states too. The ACLUseless does NOTHING for us! I’m sick of this!

    • Registry Rage

      Yes! I wouldn’t certainly love to “opt out” of all this life-destroying, security theater nonsense that protects NO ONE!

  5. Nondescript

    I never understood the logic behind the Halloween ordinances to begin with. A porch light turned off doesn’t preclude candy seekers from approaching someone’s front door . The law to ban all exterior lighting around a residence on any night of the year is merely increasing a homeowners likelihood of injury and negligence towards others. What about a registrants own children returning home after dark- most hillside homes have a flight of stairs leading to the entrance. I am so glad that registrants family members are part of this lawsuit. Make-em pay for having a law on the books that is discriminatory and unsafe regardless of whether or not it is enforced.

  6. Not Really

    This comment is more relevant here:

    ‘Nobody worries about our children’: unseen impacts of sex offender registration on families with school-age children and implications for desistance

    http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RJPugfciJkgB4RzpRMXC/full

    This is her homepage. We once exchanged emails about Dr. de River, the “psychiatrist” who originally crafted 290 back in the day.

    https://sites.google.com/a/udel.edu/prof-chrysanthi-leon-homepage/

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