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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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  1. Joe

    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 (eleven) months to rectify this wrong on your own. If anyone believes this would have happened absent this legal challenge I have a bridge to sell.

    One can only hope that there are damages involved here, attorney’s fees at the very least.

  2. ltm

    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 depriving registered sex offenders rights to “Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Happiness” with regards to registered sex offenders who have satisfied all their court ordered punishment and are ready to get on with their lives in our society.

    As I see it, the sex offender registry is much too expansive and expensive requiring considerable manpower and expense to monitor registered sex offenders. It is my understanding the recidivism rate for registered en 1-3%. All other crimes recidivisms rank higher except for murder.

    There is a tremendous amount of money spent combating the illegality, as in the city of Orange, of the sex offender registry at all levels of government. Our judicial system regulates the freedom of post RSO’s by imposing laws governed by the Adam Walsh Act which is contrary to US Constitutional law by enforcing unfair restrictions that are not constitutionally legal, fair or practical in nature.

    Imprisonment on Halloween at the registered sex offender’s (RSO’s) home is one a multitude of illegal issues. Retrospective and Ex Post Facto law is misused frequently and is most definitely unconstitutional and illegal. Also, it is important to know that the Sex Offender Notification Act (SORNA) is illegal and in opposition to our Constitutional 5th. Amendment.

    “The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit at will, but a common right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 179.

    The demand for justice, fairness and respect for human rights are additional issues
    that have gone ignored, overlooked and dismissed by our United States government This needs serious attention and will develop better cooperation between the offenders and the law, as well as, the rest of our society.

    It is time to give serious thought and consideration to what our government is doing to our laws and to our citizens by not honoring our US Constitution and International Human Rights Law.

    Article 30 from the UN Declaration of Human rights states “No one can take away your rights.”

    As I see it a Post Offender (PO) is someone who completed their prison sentence and probation and is now under the guise of the Adam Walsh Act, Megan’s Law, Jessica Lunsford Act, Wetterling Act, SORNA, city, county, state and federal government laws restricting travel in or out of states or to and from certain locations, travel in and out of country, domicile, senior long term care – assisted living – home care, burial sites/national cemeteries and specifically designated domains or locations (local parks, state parks, pools, playgrounds, libraries, the theater and all places where children congregate (IE; a McDonalds playground area – Chuck E. Cheese, a public lavatory and so on, whether an offence involved a minor or not.

    Halloween restrictions applied to those offenders on parole or probation may apply without argument as parole or probation restrictions are being served as part of the offenders court ordered punishment. However, our courts include all offenders for their lifetime on a sex offender registry forfeiting the offenders civil rights for their lifetime. Our courts, court justices, legislators, federal and state law enforcement, contrary to constitutional law, confiscate and deprive, offenders with added restrictions outside of time served indefinitely. This judicial bias outrageously undermines fair and equitable administration of the law.

    Aren’t all these bountiful restrictions enough to satisfy justice or the public? Apparently not! As far as I see it these sex offender restrictions are hate crimes committed by the public and the courts.

    In restricting freedom of movement, posting signs that target the PO’s and family members who, by the way, are already targeted on the internet, and by not allowing their family to participate in the holiday is showing exceptionally incompetent due process of law and extraordinary lack of judgement, fairness and any sort of compassion for these American citizens and their families.

    The post offender (PO) is denied his/her and families their FREEDOM guaranteed by our Constitution; and all rights to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness declared in our US Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, International Human Rights Law and some Federal Civil Rights Statutes.

    Remember that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    • td777

      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.

  3. http404

    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, the kids aren’t able to make a scarecrow for the yard or have a jack-o-lantern on the porch, and if their doorbell rings, they are prohibited from opening the door.

    Not to downplay the significance of this potential “win,” but unless I’m understanding incorrectly, that is the dilemma these folks are still stuck with…

    And perhaps it may be that the only way a case could stick against a registrant is if they happen to live alone (can you be held responsible for noncompliance by others in your household?) it surely doesn’t mean authorities won’t attempt to carry out strict enforcement.

    This makes it more a fight not for registrants to take up, but for their family members and cohabitants to challenge separately in the courts. I think this was tried in Simi Valley where family members sued alongside registrants, but they acquiesced further action on their own behalves for the sake of settling for not having a dangerous sign outside. In doing so, in my opinion, they threw themselves on the proverbial grenade.

    • Janice Bellucci

      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.

      • http404

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

  4. USA

    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!

  5. USA

    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 ever seen? People who have paid their debt to society are now not allowed to participate in a Holiday? What if a child came to the door in January to sell Girl Scout Cokkies (alone)? Or, what of a child came to their home on March to collect school donation money? What if? What if? Who on earth thinks of these things? I’m shocked! No offense, but I wouldn’t drop the suit. This law is disgusting! What’s next? I’m speechless and the city of Orange council members are disgusting!

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