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O.C. city likely to drop Halloween law aimed at sex offenders

An Orange County city will probably toss out a law requiring registered sex offenders to post a sign in front of their homes on Halloween to discourage trick-or-treaters after it was hit with a federal lawsuit alleging the practice is unconstitutional.

Registered sex offenders in the city of Orange are legally required to post a sign on Halloween, no smaller than 12 by 24 inches, that reads, “No candy or treats at this residence.” Violators face a $1,000 fine or up to a year in jail.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday on behalf of an individual identified only as “John Doe,” alleges the law violates the 1st Amendment rights of registered sex offenders and puts them, and anyone living with them, at risk of physical and emotional harm. Full Article

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The only decision of interest for this case is 11 months old (Simi Valley, Oct 29 2012 – per the handy dandy graphic on this site). Halloween is just over one month away. It typically takes two readings by a City Council to add or modify an ordinance. Most city councils meet ever other week. Dear City Attorney Winthers – this lawsuit was filed at. the. very. last. moment. possible. in order to protect approx. 100 citizen’s constitutional rights on Halloween. It is your job to make sure that the laws in your city are not illegal. You had 11… Read more »

I have never seen, in my 65 years of life, justice run contrary to the laws of the land or hysteria pumped up by journalists, legislators and law enforcement where the community of post Registered Sex Offender’s (RSO’s) are severely targeted with restrictions. Politicians have turned their lives into prisoners outside of prison not only for the offender but for their families too! I am astonished and in awe of why governors, legislators, mayors, sitting judges, attorney generals and law enforcement aren’t confined (jailed) themselves for breaking Constitutional Law. I am amazed at how our elected officials contribute to illegally… Read more »

Very well said! It’s time the registry is done away with completely and the government do more to stop the hysteria it started by finally giving the public real information about sex offenders and recidivism rather than continue this exploitation of an isolated group.

This is good news that the city is apparently recognizing that requiring registrants to post a sign on their property would not hold up to legal scrutiny. But it is NOT great news. In Orange and other places where they may strike the sign provision, There is STILL A HALLOWEEN ORDINANCE against registrants that will be on the books. That means, if I interpret it correctly, that the children, the spouses, the cohabitants where a registrant lives, must – alongside the registrant they live with – spend October 31 at their homes in the dark, with no exterior lighting on,… Read more »

The federal district court judge in the Simi Valley case stated his belief that the family members of a registrant may do what a registrant cannot do on Halloween. That is, the ordinance only limits the activities of the registrant and not the activities of members of his/her family and/or anyone else living in the same residence.

Thank you for clarifying that. That ruling went a lot further than I knew, and none of the media outlets mention it either.

First, what about gang members, drug dealers and those convicted or murder? I find this to be both a very hateful and hurtful law? I can only wonder who thought of this law and several others targeting sex offenders? I personally volunteer for prison ministries and I have stories to tell! I’m really disturbed by this!

First, congratulations Janice. You did an amazing job! Although, I have to side with http. I’m I total shock and disbelief! The officials on Orange are sick! How can anyone in their own home be told what to do? People living in their own homes aren’t allowed to open their doors, post Halloween decorations outside , answer their door and turn their lights on? That’s sick! This is Nuts and I’m honestly in disbelief! I’m angry! We have drug dealers, gang members and even murderers with more rights! This is probably one of the most disturbing sex offender laws I’ve… Read more »

Saddest most of all is we learned about this stuff in school. In literature it was “The Scarlet Letter.” In history it was the “Pink Triangle.”

Well stated. The Simi Valley Judge’s comment is correct! Who even thought of this? I responded to (PATCH) a Patch Article over the Holidays. I noted several authors wrote about Sex Oogenders/Safety Zones/posted maps? When I asked for clarification about statistics etc, they really had no clue about anything? Offenses? Had issues in area? Why did you start writing articles on this? Someone simply came up with this law and people where inclined to believe offenders where on the loose during Halloween? Made no sense, but let’s hop on the band wagon!

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