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ACSOLCalifornia

Simi Valley Repeals Halloween Ordinance

The Simi Valley City Council unanimously agreed tonight to repeal its Halloween Ordinance which required the city’s registrants to post a sign on the front door of their homes as well as prohibited them from decorating their homes, answering the door to trick-or-treaters and illuminating any exterior lights. The City Council vote was taken without discussion or debate, however, the City Attorney recommended repeal of the ordinance prior to the meeting due to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a registrant and his family who reside in Simi Valley.

“The City Council wisely decided to repeal its Halloween Ordinance tonight,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “Registrants and their families will now be able to exercise their constitutional rights and celebrate this important holiday together.”

The City of Simi Valley was first sued in 2012 for its Halloween Ordinance. A federal judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order that prohibited the City from enforcing its sign requirement that year. The City of Simi Valley soon thereafter entered into a formal Settlement Agreement which included a provision that the city would not enforce its sign requirement in the future.

Despite entering into the Settlement Agreement, the City of Simi Valley distributed copies of the Halloween Ordinance, including the sign requirement, to registrants during the years 2013 through 2017. According to city officials, compliance with the Halloween Ordinance was voluntary, however, neither the fliers that contained the information nor the police officers who distributed the fliers made such statements.

The City of Simi Valley has agreed to notify all registrants by certified mail that the ordinance has been repealed.

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  1. Marty

    Congratulations to Janice and all registrants in Simi Valley (especially the plaintiff here)! It’s the victories like these that will hopefully pave the way for greater battles in the future. To the registrants of Simi Valley, may I be the first to wish you a very Happy Halloween!🎃

    • Tim L

      Burying the lead!

      Isn’ t the real story here that this ordinance is illegal and unconstitutional!

      That they were enacted anyway implicates ignorance of basic constitutional premises by the elected. It is also incongruent with oaths of office!

      It spells doom for a constitutional republic!

  2. G4Change

    Congratulations Janice and all!
    The cowards in Simi Valley couldn’t honor an agreement, so now they lost the ENTIRE ordinance. Good riddance!

  3. Robert R.

    These sort of ordinances sound good to the public. If you asked any city council member to cite a case of sexual abuse stemming from someone passing out candy, you would get a blank stare. Sexual abuse is typically perpetrated by someone very familiar to the victim. This is what the statistics show. We need a honest conversation about this topic instead of chasing the boogeyman. Darkness to Light d2l.org is an organization that has a real solution. And treatment for the abuser is the other approach.

    The humiliating signs, the faces on the websites, the presence restrictions is the WRONG approach. These methods cause MORE harm!!

    The sensation wins elections,brings forth dumb ordinances and sounds good to the uneducated, but does nothing to solve the problem.

    It happened to me and my daughter. I want real solutions. Thank you Janice for beating back this sort of useless and harmful ordinance. It is NOT the solution.

  4. Time to fight

    Does this mean all other cities will fall in line with this ruling? I live in La Verne and they have a similar ordinance, where SO’s cant have lights on or decorations. We cant hand out candy either.

    • TS

      @Time to fight

      Discuss with Janice the situation and the other registered citizens who may have been impacted by this to see what can be done and to file a letter with the city council which might be the start of getting it repealed.

    • mjk

      Same goes for all of San Bernardino County. No outside decoration, no lights, no handing out candy even after probation.

      • Cool Ca RC

        Tulare Country as well.

      • Gralphr

        I lived in Moreno Valley and was never told not to do anything on Halloween. (granted Im not on probation or parole). I took my children trick or treating every year without a problem.

      • Friendly Advice

        @mjk – there is no ordinance in all of San Bernardino County that prohibits RSO’s not on parole or probation from participating in Halloween. I’ve lived in Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario for 10 years and have never had any such restriction.

      • mjk

        http://all4consolaws.org/2015/01/san-bernardino-county-to-pare-down-sex-offender-ordinance/

        I believe this still applies in SB county. I believe they only enforce it on those with victims who were a minor, wether on probation or not. While on probation, there is also a curfew and nothing Halloween themed allowed inside your home either. Might only be enforced in unincorporated areas, but it’s seems unclear. Might want to double check to see if this is on the books in your city, and whether it’s being enforced or not.

        Perhaps Janice can help us to understand the current status of this in SB county’s Halloween ordinance.

  5. SBC (VPSVS)

    Great news! The hurt they inflicted will still go unpunished. Maybe not I’m sure their misguided selfish pride must be hurt. I will do as I have allows done throughout my life. Turn off the light as I never celebrated Halloween as a child. Would like to see the council take on a challenge. “BAN HALLOWEEN IN THE CITY OF SIMI VALLEY”

  6. USA

    Well, it’s amazing how things can look so differently now! A few years back, we where banned from parks and beaches! We even had one man lose his job because of this!

    Now, we have passed a new law bridging a way out! Stay positive. One battle at a time!

  7. Eric

    Cheers Janice, and thanks to the courageous registrant that stood up to fight.

  8. Josh james

    We have nearly the same laws in Missouri. This is state law. How do we go about challenging it? On what grounds was the lawsuit filed and can this be replicated if it’s state law and not a local ordinance? Law is outlined below:

    n 2010, Missouri lawmakers passed a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting trick-or-treaters from convicted sex offenders on Halloween night. The law requires registered sex offenders to stay inside their homes between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:30 pm. with all exterior lighting turned off. They must also post signs on their door stating that no candy will be available to trick-or-treaters at their home.

    • TS

      @Josh James

      See Vicki at WAR (Women Against Registry) to see where MO folks can go and what to do to fight this using what CA has used as a foundation.

    • David

      @ Josh James: Requiring RSOs to place a sign on their front door can be considered “forced speech” which is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Right to Freedom of Speech.

    • AJ

      @Josh james:
      The requirement to remain indoors would seem to be ripe for challenge. Since one’s First Amendment right to assembly is implicated, it should be subject to strict scrutiny, which means the onus is on the State to show a compelling interest and have the law narrowly tailored to achieve the goal. Placing a RC under house arrest is excessive and overly broad. Add in that there are zero cases of anything ever happening on Halloween with RCs, the State may have a tough argument.

      As others have pointed out, the sign is compelled speech, which implicates your First Amendment right to speech (which includes NOT speaking). Again, as it’s a fundamental right, it’s subject to strict scrutiny, so the State would need to show a compelling interest and narrowly tailor the law to achieve that goal.

      In both these cases, it’s worth noting that if there is ANY other less restrictive means to achieve the goal, strict scrutiny requires that to be used instead. The State already has its ML site to achieve both goals. In fact, most States explicitly say the goal of their ML sites is to protect (so no need for house arrest) and notify (so no need for a sign) the public.

  9. LS

    Wow, the press sure is having a heyday with this one. Radio, TV, print. The latest is that all the RSO’s will now be running around rampant in Simi Valley on Halloween. Advising everyone to make sure and check Megans Law Web site, so you can make sure and avoid the “unmarked houses”. One TV reporter did mention (at the very end) of the report “according to records, no one has ever been arrested or charged on Halloween, for assault or any other related crime”.

    • Statistical ninny

      I love that last comment stating that actually nobody has ever even been arrested for halloween related offenses involving rc’s…here’s a few other interesting numbers i culled about california by looking around on the net for related info….an examination of the last 11 years indicates an annual average of 8 million students enrolled in public k-12 schools. According to publicly available state websites a minimum of 3.7% of these students were sexually assaulted by a teacher at least once in that 11 year period, an average of 27000 per year. So IF average class size = 25 students then on average 320 thousand teachers taught per year. Then that would mean that as many as 8.1%of them sexually assaulted a student, which means that they’re 5.1 times MORE likely to commit a sexual assault than an rc is (at 1.5% in any given year). Furtermore, examination of sexual assault allegations against California law enforcement (including DOJ) stands at (depending on who you believe) between 3-4.5% of that segment of the population, 2 to 3 times more risk there than from rc’s! Just saying….

    • David

      Yet how many of these so-called journalists bother to mention this:

      “The NHSTA study found 715 pedestrian deaths that occurred on Oct. 31 between 1978 and 2002. Halloween trails only Dec. 23 (753 deaths) and Jan. 1 (751 deaths) for the sad title of most dangerous day on the road.”

      http://m.newsok.com/article/5456322

  10. mike r

    Yep, chicken little and the big bad wolf all in one. I didn’t even know they still had ordinances like this on the books. I wonder, does Sacramento have any of these or other ordinances that I should know about? More fodder….

  11. mike r

    Who’s telling you you can’t do Halloween? Are you on probation, parole?

  12. BigMeat

    MikeR, your comments are truly immature. Who don’t we celebrate and demonstrate the fact that we are grateful for this win and appreciate the hard work and dedication!

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