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ACSOL NewsCalifornia

CA: Lawsuit Challenges Halloween Restrictions in Rialto

[ACSOL]

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!

@SR,

I was surprised that West Covina recently rescinded their presence/residency restrictions. I had thought all the cities agreed to comply long ago because presence/residency restrictions were unconstitutional in CA. So this Rialto dilemma doesn’t surprise me. There are probably other cities that we don’t know about either.

I’m not surprised at all. Our ELECTED officials are going to pander to the whims of the public EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. PERIOD. As long as the public has such hatred and vitriol for us, NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE. PERIOD. They’ll keep piling on the disabilities and restraints and will only stop when the courts force them to.
When you take a case to court, you BETTER HAVE AN AIR-TIGHT CASE PERFECTLY CRAFTED that will give the judge ZERO WIGGLE ROOM to rule against you.

Our elected officials are going to take whatever measures keep them in office and in good graces with their constituency. As long as the voters foam at the mouth whenever “sex offenders” are mentioned, they’re going to keep piling on as many debilitating DISABILITIES AND RESTRAINTS as they can until they are stopped in a court of law.

I reject the label sex offender because until such time (WHICH WILL BE NEVER) as I or any other PFR (Person Forced to Register) commits another sexually-based felony, I/WE ARE LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

LEGAL STRATEGY SUGGESTION: STOP ARGUING RECIDIVISM STATISTICS AND FOCUS ON THE DISABILITIES AND RESTRAINTS SUCH AS RESIDENCY, PRESENCE, AND WORK RESTRICTIONS…IN-PERSON REPORTING DUTIES THAT ARE SO NUMEROUS THEY HAVE THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF BEING ON PAROLE, ETC…

People are SDL (stupid, dumb, lazy). They hear something that sounds good, and they believe it. Here is an unrelated example of a completely off topic subject showing how people are SDL. We encounter trails we used to ride or hike and now are blocked off with tape saying: Nature Habitat. All around this Nature Habitat, they are building new homes, even villages. Still, people believe that nature is being preserved when they see the signs. Really? Nature is being destroyed because money talks, but they still believe that these signs really mean there is a Nature Habitat. People are and alway will be SDL.

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

Man !! (Some of you can write for ever ) but it not a bad thing. Just time consuming to read lol. But i Thank you all for all your hard work and input to fight this Demon. The hit list don’t work cause i have been in too many states. In the past no one that i have stopped and talked too had NO clue i was a sex offender. 99% of the time it so called friend’s who. Drop the info.

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.

I wonder if all these wins ACSOL is collecting can be used as evidence that laws are being passed due to malice and retribution as they have nothing to do with scientific support. Halloween restrictions, presence restrictions, residency restriction, and a lifetime term for all offenders have all been changed. It appears that ACSOL is proving there exists systematic judicial discrimination that is not built upon scientific support. Eventually, ACSOL can dump all the years of CASCOMB information revealing that registrants have recidivate under 1% when failure to register is removed from the recidivism stats.

Why was the legislative branch willing to augment a group of 1203.4 recipients to not receive the full benefits to where it means nothing to that group?
… i) the court “shall” case set aside
… ii) the court “shall” accusation/info dismissed
… iii) relief of all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense

The registry is using a case that no longer exists with information about that case no longer available for use to proliferate such information and case as current and live. 1203.4 used to relieve one from the registry because in-person reporting was punitive, but newer PC 290 laws re-identified the scheme as statutory.

1. Why is penalty only punitive? Can one be imposed civil penalties? Isn’t that what a statutory scheme is, a civil penalty?

2. 1203.4 relief i and ii are distinct as well as unique reliefs. If the registry is no longer considered punishment, then reliefs i and ii are still in place due to the definitive command “shall”. Once 1203.4 is earned, then that information can longer be used. Yet, it is being used by the registry. Maybe this will also be proven as unconstitutional because PC 290 cannot override 1203.4 because new laws cannot supersede existing law, especially when it exists for other 1203.4 recipients without a sex crime.

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.

@MichaelRS wrote:
“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?”

Simple answer is the public does not know about low recidivism rates. The policy makers and law enforcement want to push that all offenders are only monsters and there’s no redeeming value. This is why you do not see low recidivism rates being shared to the whole public or utilized in court cases because the policy makers do not care about scientific fact when scare rhetoric works best for job security and lobbying.

* In 2003, Smith v Doe SCOTUS case identified that registrants had an 80% recidivism rate. That lie has been propagated in all the courts in the US.

In 2015, Dr Ira and Tara Ellman debunked that 80% claim in their academic paper ‘Frightening and High’: The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics.
link to academic paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616429

* I believe CASOMB (Ca Sex Offender Mgmt Board funded by the state of Ca) in 2015 and 2016 had recidivism rates under 1%, when Failure to Register were removed from recidivism grouping.
CASOMB pamphlet link: http://casomb.org/pdf/CASOMB_Education_Pamphlet.pdf
CASOMB under 1% link (second year in a row): http://all4consolaws.org/2016/08/rate-of-re-offense-drops-again/

* There was 10-year study using CASOMB info published in June 2008 showing the cumulative total of recidivism in the 10-year study was 3.38%.
CASOMB 10-year study (1997 -2007) link: https://womenagainstregistry.org/Resources/pdf/CASOMB_RECIDIVISM_STUDY_10_YEAR_w-Graph.pdf

* New Jersey conducted a 20-year study about registration/Megan’s Law (1984-2004). A 10-year study before the implementation of Megan’s law and a 10-year study after the implementation of Megan’s law. The conclusion of the study was that Megan’s law was useless.
Link to article of the NJ 20-year study: https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/sex-offender-registration-and-notification-research-finds-limited-effects-new

With all these facts in support of dismantling the registry, none of it is being used in the courts as factual statistical information. No matter how many studies have been conducted, monster rhetoric is what rules the policy makers. Look at CA’s new tiered registry of 10-years, 20-years, and lifetime terms. Yet, Dr. Hanson’s research work states that 17 years is the maximum supervision time for registrants, the same Dr. Hanson whose research work created the Static-99 test that CA utilizes.

Until the public is fed these facts on a consistent basis and compared to the recidivism rates of other crimes, then the public will never know. If the public never knows about how the Supreme Court used bad sources on its 2003 decision, then the public will never be on our side. No one likes to lose a court case if someone is using false information against you, but not many will see that nor is SCOTUS willing to re-visit it, sadly.

I’ve bookmarked all these sources throughout my decade here on ACSOL. It’s proof that science is on our side, but that information isn’t being shared on purpose by policy makers to the public on purpose. Almost 20 years ago the 2003 Smith v Doe decision was levied. Read the opinions and see where the registry now contradicts the Supreme Court Justices today. The internet is the town square. Oh the naivete of the Supereme Court Justices for Smith v Doe of 2003.

New Person ~ Great point. The majority of people only hear and believe what they are being told. Another factor they don’t know is that certain “sex offenses” are “crimes” like Romeo and Juliet or peeing in public, yet nobody educates these people. To them, hearing the word sex offender immediately means child rapist. In their defense, they listen to the stories without feeling the need to explore further. It is laziness, and it is much easier to just believe what they are being told rather than educating themselves to get to the real story.

This is why policy makers want the label “Sex Offender” to remain. They expect the public to be duped that anyone labeled “SO” is the worst of the worst – all of them, which is far from the truth.

And this is why I’m pushing to the idea to have government “enforce” all of 1203.4’s immunities that state:
… i) your case “shall” be set aside
… ii) the court “shall” dismiss your accusation/information

The registry cannot use “court ordered dismissed information/accusation”. “Shall” is a very binding word that implements an agreement. Law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed as it is part of the CA constitution (Art I, sec 9). This mean the state should be sued for libel for labelling a person a SO after earning 1203.4.

The registry is promoting that everyone on the list is highly dangerous and cannot be redeemed as the registry is identifying they are SO’s still as opposed to saying former SO. The policy makers expect the public not to look at nuance or depth into the matter. The labelling alone is ostracizing and makes it legal to have second class citizens. That’s why it’s so important to have the registry up and continue pushing SO laws so the public can continue to be brainwashed.

Again, I’ve cited several studies that share SO have a very low recidivism rate as well as studies showing Megan’s List is didn’t change the landscape and it is a very costly program. Yet, no one cares about the science. The politicians need a boogeyman and we’re the low hanging fruit that doesn’t fight back.

I’m not surprised at all. Our ELECTED officials are going to pander to the whims of the public EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. PERIOD. As long as the public has such hatred and vitriol for us, NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE. PERIOD. They’ll keep piling on the disabilities and restraints and will only stop when the courts force them to.
When you take a case to court, you BETTER HAVE AN AIR-TIGHT CASE PERFECTLY CRAFTED that will give the judge ZERO WIGGLE ROOM to rule against you.

We are NEVER going to get anywhere basing our legal challenges on recidivism statistics. Remember, these laws are passed based on the following sentiment: IF IT SAVES JUST ONE CHILD, IT’S WORTH IT.

We MUST focus on DISABILITIES AND RESTRAINTS IMPOSED BY THE BYZANTINE CODE OF RESTRICTIONS that are par for course for every registry law out there.

Easier solution – the Sex Offense Registries (Hit Lists) shouldn’t exist. They are useless and not needed. That is trivial to prove. But they are a lot worse than just worthless.

With regard to Halloween, they are also a dangerous distraction. It should NEVER be reinforced that big government is telling you where the “dangerous” people are. Big government has no clue. It should NEVER be reinforced that children should not be supervised and parents are not responsible for that. Never.

Related, there is no reason to know where the PFRs who are “high risk” live and avoid their homes. No reason at all. Because the person living right next door to a “high risk” person could be 10 times more dangerous and big government knows nothing about them. That is a simple reality that makes the Hit Lists and especially the idiotic Halloween harassment beyond just being stupid.

Big government is out of control. They need to be shrunk to a tiny fraction of what they are. Same with their law enforcement criminals. Let’s call that retaliation for their incessant harassment and immoral, criminal behavior.

@Will Allen wrote: “Easier solution – the Sex Offense Registries (Hit Lists) shouldn’t exist. They are useless and not needed. That is trivial to prove. But they are a lot worse than just worthless.”

That’s what the 20-year NJ study reflected that cited above. Along with the rest of the sources. Yet, the registry still exists. Why?

We don’t have PR campaign. Remember the war on drugs and smoking weed got you a felony? Welp, all that is being reversed. I remember sitting in court and the new CA law reduced charges from a felony to a misdemeanor and a few people on the bench were released that day by order of the judge implementing the new law. So the war on drugs along with the 1994 crime bill ravaged a lot of low level users to be equal of that of a drug overlord. Now, marijuana is being legalized in more and more states.

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

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