A lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court challenging the Halloween ordinance adopted by the City of Orange which requires “sex offenders” to post a sign on the front door of their residence. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the city ordinance violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and places “sex offenders” as well as anyone living with a “sex offender” at risk for physical and emotional harm.
“The City of Orange is the only city in California that requires registered citizens to post a sign on the front door of their residence,” stated California Reform Sex Offender Laws (CA RSOL) President Janice Bellucci. “A similar ordinance in the City of Simi Valley was successfully challenged in federal court last year.”
Federal District Court Judge Percy Anderson found in the Simi Valley case that “sex offenders” who were required to post a sign on the front door of their residence on Halloween, “are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent issuance of a temporary restraining order” (TRO).Judge Anderson issued a TRO in this case on October 29, 2012, which prohibited the City of Simi Valley from enforcing its sign requirement. The case was subsequently settled.
According to the City of Orange ordinance, any “sex offender” who refuses to post a sign on the front door of their residence is subject to a fine up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. Imprisonment for violation of this ordinance would violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which protects citizens from unreasonable seizures.
“Instead of protecting the residents of the City of Orange, this ordinance harms hundreds of citizens in that City,” stated Frank Lindsay, a CA RSOL board member.
“There are about 100 residents of the City of Orange that have been convicted of a sex-related crime and this ordinance violates their constitutional rights as well as the constitutional rights of their family members.”
There are no known sexual assaults upon children who trick or treat on Halloween. “Those convicted of sex-related crimes are notlikely to assault a child on Halloween or at any other time,” Bellucci added. According to a report issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in October 2012, the rate of re-offense for a person convicted of a sex-related crime while on parole is only 1.9 percent.
The California Reform Sex Offender Laws organization is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the civil rights of individuals convicted of sex-related offenses. There are more than 100,000 people in the state of California who are registered as sex offenders and have been convicted of a wide range of offenses, including public urination,sexting, possession of pornographyand rape.
Current state law requires that those listed on the state’s registry will remain on the registry for theirlifetime. California is only 1 of 4 states in the U.S. that require lifetime registration for those convicted of a sex-related offense.
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Note: The case number for the Simi Valley case is CV 12-8377 PA (VBKx) and copies of the TRO decision is available upon request.