A registrant and his family filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (PI) in federal court late yesterday in order to stop a Halloween Ordinance in Simi Valley from being enforced. The ordinance requires registrants to post a sign on the front door of their home on Halloween as well as prohibits registrants from participating in Halloween activities including decorating their homes.
“After the lawsuit was filed, city officials have admitted that they have enforced the Halloween Ordinance for the past five years despite a judge’s ruling and a written promise that they would not,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The City’s unlawful acts must be stopped.”
In addition, the court has transferred the lawsuit to U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson who granted a Temporary Restraining Order in a similar case in 2012. In that TRO, the judge stated that the City’s requirement that registrants place a sign on the front of their home violates the First Amendment because it constitutes compelled speech and “poses a danger to sex offenders, their families and their property….its function and effect is likely to approximate that of Hawthorne’s Scarlet letter — ….potentially subjecting them to dangerous mischief common on Halloween night and to community harassment in the weeks and months following.”
Also in the TRO, the judge ruled that “the public interest is not served — indeed, it is undermined — by enforcement of an unconstitutional law singling out a discrete, outcast group to speak in such a way that their persons, property, and loved ones may be endangered. Because the impact on the public of enjoining this section of the Halloween Ordinance is likely to be negligible, the Court finds that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.”