CA: Lawsuit Challenges Halloween Restrictions in Rialto


A lawsuit has been filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court challenging the Halloween restrictions of the City of Rialto.  Specifically, there is an ordinance adopted and enforced by the City of Rialto that prohibits all registrants on Halloween from decorating their front yards and exteriors with “typical Halloween decorations”, from opening the doors of their residence to trick-or-treaters and from leaving on any exterior residential, decorative and ornamental lights.  If this ordinance is violated, registrants may be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail.

The City of Rialto passed this ordinance in 2013 and continues to enforce by conducting compliance operations that include contacting registrants at their residence on Halloween.  In addition, the City has invited the public to report any violations of the ordinance to the city’s police department.

According to the lawsuit, the Halloween restrictions at issue are preempted by state law which has “established a comprehensive and standardized system for regulation sex offenders to the exclusion of all local regulation.”

“The City’s Halloween restrictions also do not increase public safety because threats to children from registrants on Halloween are virtually non-existent according to a nine-year study conducted by Ph.D. Jill Levenson,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “Dr. Levenson’s findings in fact suggest that Halloween restrictions may in fact be targeting a new urban myth similar to past myths warning parents of tainted treats.”

According to the lawsuit, the ordinance is an arbitrary, politically motivated act imposed by a local government in response to popular sentiments that are based upon misinformation, and which seeks retribution against registrants who constitute a socially outcast minority.  The lawsuit requests that the Halloween restrictions adopted and enforced by the City of Rialto be stricken permanently.


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I can’t believe cities still have to be sued into submission over this. Get them, Janice!

No more “operation boo.”

Life is bad enough without having to deal with all this garbage.

One thing Covid has taught me is how society is easily manipulated with deception, fear and hate.

nice job janice, im sure they will remove once pressed in court good job

I wish us in Missouri had someone like Janice that was doing all the stuff I hear her doing!!

Thank you so much Janice this means a lot to me and a lot of people here in Rialto you definitely take care of Business

Thank you, Janice and ACSOL for continuing to defend the rights of registrants and their families. Hopefully Rialto does the right thing and settles this lawsuit and repeals this ridiculous ordinance.

Keep up the good fight Janice and Chance! 🙂

The city of Cypress still has pretty much the same ordinance. They previously stopped enforcement and later repealed their residency restrictions, but they still have the Halloween restrictions. Last year at my annual registration, I asked if it enforced or if it was stayed like the residency restrictions were. The lady doing the forms didn’t even know about it, but said if its still on the books they will enforce it.

Can you please forward them the lawsuit too 😉

I smell a wich hunt brewing law enforcement shore knows how to get the attention off them and put it back on sex offenders.
All these politicians keep using sex offenders as a sale pitch even the Young Turks podcasts was talking about sex offenders today and how Americans never wanna talk about high profile cases
For Instance why aren’t they trying pass laws to protect women from coaches and doctors like James Mason no they rather track and post articles about sex offenders who are in compliance living by a park or being on school campus for a parent teacher conference .
it’s sad how far people will go to shame and punish people for their past sex crimes. Contemplating Suicide to end this nightmare is starting to become every day struggle

Good luck

It was a great pleasure to be able to work on this case with ACSOL. (Thank you to Janice and Carlton for this awesome opportunity). The work done by this organization is priceless to all of us that are registrants. I look forward to the next city that we challenge.

If this lawsuit is decided using all the current research, it will be a definite win.

According to the Boston Review in “Halloween and Stranger Danger”, October 31, 2019, “Almost all sex crimes committed by strangers on Halloween are committed by first time offenders”, not by people on the registry. “Children are far more likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than be assaulted. In fact, children are ten times likelier to be struck by a car on Halloween than on any other day.” Additionally, research shows that in 93% of the cases of sexual abuse, the victims know their perpetrators. The “stranger danger” concept is based on myths perpetrated by some in the media and politicians.

The Association for the Treatment of Sex Abusers, a nonprofit organization for clinicians, researchers, educators, law enforcement, and court officials involved in sexual abuse cases, cautions that children do not face a heightened risk during the Halloween season: “There is no change in the rate of sexual crimes by non-family members during Halloween. That was true both before and after communities enacted laws to restrict the activities of registrants during Halloween. The crimes that do increase around Halloween are vandalism and property destruction, as well as theft, assault, and burglary.”

Jill Levenson, ATSA 2014, stated: “Using national incident-based reporting system (NIBRS) crime report data from 1997-2005, we examined 67,045 non-familial sex crimes against children age 12 and younger. Halloween rates were compared to expectations based on time, seasonality and weekday periodicity. There were no significant increases in sex crimes on or around Halloween, and Halloween incidents did not demonstrate unusual case characteristics.”

According to Marty Klein in Psychology Today, 2018, “. . . the scariest thing about Halloween today is the fear-mongering designed to persuade parents that their kids live in a neighborhood full of dangerous predators. And yet, the facts say otherwise.”

Emily Horowitz, Huffington Post 2014, stated: “Research shows no evidence of increased child sex abuse on Halloween.

Parents are being told to make sure they know where every person on the sex offense registry lives in their neighborhood, but they have no map showing where every released murderer, person convicted of domestic violence, drug dealer, gang leader, armed robber, etc. live. These “sex offender” maps are not making children safer on Halloween; parents being with their children on Halloween is what makes them safer.

Thank you, ASCOL, for your work.

I think it is hilarious that these incompetent criminal regimes are so pathetic and clueless that they ever created Halloween “restrictions”. I mean, how dumb does a person have to be to think those do ANY good? The vast majority of people in America are dumb, but “leaders” ought to be better. Hopefully they are just pandering and don’t really believe such “restrictions” are useful or moral. I mean, who are the “laws” supposed to help? Irresponsible parents who can’t be bothered to supervise their children? I guess. Perhaps they should have a law against those parents instead. They are putting children at risk.

I don’t care where I live in America – no law enforcement criminals from any criminal regime are ever going to visit me at my home on Halloween. If they ever did, the experience would not go well for them.

I would encourage all PFRs who are not on probation/parole to leave their homes on Halloween and disappear. Personally, I like to find immoral places like Rialto and go there. I’ve done that a lot. The criminal regimes have never had a clue where I am. As long as the Hit Lists exist, I don’t expect that will ever change.

Retaliate. De-fund big government. De-fund big government law enforcement.

Well, while I am fully in favor of this lawsuit action to get the ordinance repealed, at least they don’t make them put up a sign on the door or lawn.
Many people “go dark” on Halloween so as not to invite children up to the door because they don’t want to be bothered. So at least in that way the city is not requiring the registrants to do something unique that says, in other words, “sex offender lives here”.
Still, I fully agree with the premise of the lawsuit.

But here is a point about the whole Halloween thing.
If one is on the Megan’s Law website for public viewing, they are considered to pose a certain public safety *risk, to the point that the public has to be made aware of them. The greater the risk, the more specific the information. Particularly when it comes to specifically where somebody lives. Those considered to be less of a risk have less specific information in that regard.
And if you’re considered very little or no risk because the legal system considers your offense minor enough, you’re not on the Megan’s Law website at all, even though you are still a registrant.

The point is, why should somebody who is considered little to no risk and their specific address is not listed on the Megan’s Law site, or they’re not even on the Megan’s Law site, have to follow such an ordinance?

And for those individuals who are considered higher risk, shouldn’t it be the PARENT’S responsibility, before they take their children out trick-or-treating, to go on the Megan’s Law website and check out the area where they intend to go trick-or-treating and see who is a registrant living around there?
And then at that point it should be the PARENT’S responsibility to have their children avoid that house or apartment or whatever.

*This isn’t an argument for the rightness or wrongness or what kind of errors are involved with the Megan’s Law website. That statement is just saying how things are.

Great comments. The new law has a lot of positive outcomes, but there is still a lot to do. 1. Why hasn’t the DOJ did there job in the last 3 years and assigned everyone to their tiers? 2. Why hasn’t 17b been addressed? 3. Many of us have never been on the Megan’s Law website, worked hard to clean up our records, have jobs and may now be posted on the site because the DOJ hasn’t done their job! 4. Are all tiers 1,2 and 3 going to be online?

Does anyone know what became of this?

Any word on The Halloween restrictions in Rialto California in March it was under lawsuit