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CA RSOL Challenges Halloween Ordinance in U.S. District Court

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.

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It is very scary to think that my son (registered sex offender) who lives with me would have to post a sign on my property. I believe this is just asking for trouble. My son was 18 the victim 19. He is now 35 & no other “so” crimes since. He was at a party given by the victims mother. Mother supplied a keg of beer for these under aged kids. My son was “plastered”. The “victim” knowing this left the party with my son. Him driving. funny thevictims Mother was never at the trial. They had intercourse & 30… Read more »

Sick and pathetic…a young man’s life ruined like that. What happened to the America of old when everyone REPEAT everyone was given a second chance? Really makes me angry and I really want to get changes made. Is anyone with me? Things just more too slowly…for this victim and YES there are 2 victims in this case above. For all of us who have cooperated and done everything that was / is asked of us no matter how degrading, because we are following the law. What has it gotten us? Nothing! Just more laws and more restrictions! Are we fools?… Read more »

Thank you for your comment, Robyn. We are so very sorry that you and your son are facing the significant challenges before you. There is no justice in a law that continues to punish individuals for an offense they committed long ago and have never repeated. CA RSOL will continue to work toward a tiered registry bill that would stop the punishment of individuals like your son after he has paid his debt to society.

The current proposal for tiers does NOT stop the punishment of individuals after they have paid their debt to society. It imposes that punishment on even the least of the least for a minimum of 10 years! You need to at least recognize what the proposal does. We should instead revert to the “tiers” we used to have. Under those “tiers,” when someone finished “paying their debt to society” by completing probation, they could get 1203.4 relief and stop registering. That was the same thing as tiers, with everyone’s time of probation determined by the nature of their case, like… Read more »

Janice thanks for all you and the staff do. I have a new twist to consider. Yes, a tiered system will make a difference but to have a public registry that is routed through the local Sheriff’s Department would reduce vigilantism by requiring those doing the search to give their ID and information.

Yes, it would give law enforcement information as to who is doing the “asking” and it is not a reasonable expectation that if you are obtaining personal information about someone that you provide your own personal information as a deterrent to vigilantism and stalking. Prior to December 2004 the public could visit their local police station and view the information there on a DVD ROM… Working THROUGH the police for the information they seek to protect their families instead of allowing universal online access where the information can be exploited, abused and used for criminal intent.

As always, God Speed to you, Janice, and anyone else fighting these ludicrous laws!!!

Cynicism is the studied refusal to hope. So many RSO’s look at the onslaught of these laws (particularly in the election years) and become cynical. I refuse. These laws are wrong, unjust and un-American. I am hopeful that we can turn all of this around and return to sanity. That hope seems naive right now, but the only alternative is cynicism, and I won’t go there. RSOL gives me hope that we can take effective action.

These ordinances are so wrong on so many levels. It targets everyone who lives with a person who is registered. They are all put at risk of vigilante hostility. Most disturbing and devastating are the children who are forced to live like this. Imagine for a minute that you are that child. Why should they have to endure this? What happens when they must face this at school, with their peers and in in their own neighborhood. Just thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach. How can they have a normal life? They say these laws are designed… Read more »

Surreal. I honestly forgot about this law. OMG, why would anyone be required to post a sign at their door? Lets be real. What if the murderer, gang member or drug dealer lived at the home your child was trigger treating? Geez. Unbelievable and totally stupid. Whats next? Marked sex offender cars? You have to have a computer chip implanted in you? Or, maybe paint your home a certain color? Who knows?

“are likely to suffer irreparable harm”

Well, isn’t just being on the list?

Good job, CA RSOL!

Does this suit challenge just the sign requirement or the other Halloween restrictions as well – like no decorations, no lights, no opening the door to kids, etc.?

The lawsuit challenges only the requirement to post a sign on the front door because the judge in the Simi Valley case agreed with us on that point. We can always challenge the remaining requirements at another time if necessary.

I’m beginning to wonder who thinks of these laws? San Diego has been known to have done of the most stringent ordinances for sex offenders! Well, look what just happened to their mayor? So, let me get this straight? Certain sex offenders can’t travel unless first notifying law enforcement, some must post signs in front of their homes, some have posters plastered around the city warning people, some sex offenders are banned from livingvin certain areas of cities, the names and addresses of certain sex offenders are posted online for all to see, some sex offenders are prohibited from visiting… Read more »

I would prefer thee case be decided on the federal Constitution, as it is being challenged. However, another point here is that this local ordinance would seem to be in violation of 290 itself! 290 specifically protects/exempts many lesser offenders, including all misdemeanants, from being revealed to the public (they are not posted on the Web or otherwise revealed) — this ordinance violates that. 290 also specifically bars notice to the local area of a particular registrant and specific location — absent some substantial and very serious concern of reoffense — which in the tiered system proposal certainly would have… Read more »

I read all of your stories folks. In a few words I can say I am in a piece of all of them. except I am a life time criminal,frauds and general menace to society.But the lable I got is sexoffender. one offence, so long ago I don’t even remember that guy I was. I have been retired from all bad things since december 19,2005. thank you for your time.greg scot

December 19, 2005 must be the day you gave your life to the Lord. Know you aren’t alone here, and that CA RSOL can use all the prayer support it can get.

Oh and I appoligize the topic. Great Job RSOL on the TRO. smart folks get smart Judges.Thank you. greg scott

HI, we are trying to obtain the court documents for this case and the other case in Orange County relating to the signage conditions. We have filed a similar case here in Northern Nevada and we would like to use these as precedent if possible. We do have access to pacer, however, the case number does not come up as listed above. Would you please refer us to the proper case numbers or send all copies of documents to the email listed for Nevadans for Civil Liberties. Thank you very much. Great job and keep up the good work on… Read more »

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