MO: Police: Registered sex offender arrested after handing out Halloween candy in Hazelwood

Source: 11/4/22

Police arrested a registered sex offender Friday accused of violating state law and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween in Hazelwood.

Prosecutors have charged Thomas ____ with one count of “failure to comply with Halloween related restrictions for sex offenders.”

As part of Missouri state law, registered sex offenders cannot go outside to interact with children, cannot have outside lights on and are required to post a sign stating no candy or treats are available at the home on Halloween night.

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The article does not indicate if Sanderson was on probation, parole, or Supervised Release. I have to assume he was not, and was free of these obligations. As such, I am forced to assume that all PFRs are placed under house arrest ever year? Required to confine themselves to their homes for a period of time required and enforced by the State, with penalties for noncompliance. That is the very definition of Home Confinement, which is a criminal punishment.

It matters nothing that it is only for a few hours once a year. This is clearly a punishment that PFRs are uniquely subjected to, probably for life. How is this legal? Once a year I get automatically arrested and confined to my home? Not for a crime I have committed, but based solely on the theory I will commit a crime? This is absurd, inhumane and clearly illegal!

Can anyone more familiar with MO law confirm or correct my assumptions please?

I hope this guy is able to hire an attorney or that there’s an anti-registry organization in Missouri that can help him. This statute can be fought.

589.426. Halloween, restrictions on conduct — violations, penalty. — 1. Any person required to register as a sexual offender under sections 589.400 to 589.425 shall be required on October thirty-first of each year to:

(1) Avoid all Halloween-related contact with children;
simply absurd. There are no restrictions of contact with minors on any other day.

(2) Remain inside his or her residence between the hours of 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. unless required to be elsewhere for just cause, including but not limited to employment or medical emergencies;
house arrest without probable cause. 4th Amendment violation, I would think.

(3) Post a sign at his or her residence stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”; and
Already defeated on 1st Amendment grounds.

(4) Leave all outside residential lighting off during the evening hours after 5 p.m.
compromises the home’s private security, potentially leaving its occupants open to vandalism and torts from passersby.

Any person required to register as a sexual offender under sections 589.400 to 589.425 who violates the provisions of subsection 1 of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
There’s nothing in the statutes regarding bail amounts. But $25k for a misdemeanor is pretty excessive.

A 25k bond for handing out candy. Overkill to the Nth degree. Oh, and by the way, not a single child was hurt.

Wow, he passed out candy. Maybe, it was not fat free candy? His offense was over 20 years ago with a 16 year old person. I wonder how many drug dealers or murderers passed out candy that night, but not to worry about them. They just killed someone or gave children drugs, nothing to see there. Just saw another good video by River Whitsett, and he lists some of the horrendous crimes that are now named for laws regarding the registry. Yet, these children were first kidnapped, then raped (for some there was no sexual assault involved), then murdered. So, why are people on the registry only for the sexual part of the offense, but not for the kidnapping or murdering? I am sure there are many many crimes where the person “only” kidnapped or killed someone, but they don’t get blasted on a public website and have to adhere by ever increasing vague and convoluting laws. Only when there is a sexual component does one end up on a Hit List. And by sexual component, I mean viewing pictures, urinating in public, consensual sex with someone under the age. A slap on the butt is also considered sexual assault here in the prude US where every show, Instagram, Tic Toc, etc does nothing but promote sex. When has everyone become such a hypocrite? Showing models in see through dresses, and everybody loves it. I give up trying to understand the ignorance of people.

Last edited 6 months ago by someone who cares

While a completely moronic law, This person seems from the article not to be able to follow simple guidelines.
People like him make it worse for the rest and insure that registries will continue. They simply don’t care.

Last edited 6 months ago by Lone Ranger

Please someone post the state’s statute.
Does anyone else think journalists could actually cite the enumerated code in their pieces?
Instead it’s always “according to state law” without the reader being able to read for themselves, as if readers should take the authors on their word alone. This is a topic I’ve put to our own local news outlets. For a people who claim to be law abiding citizens we don’t read nor publish the law itself enough, or at all like here. Instead we rely on lawyers to do the reading AND the interpreting.
Context FTR Vior Jury selection panel.
Q: All sex offenders must register….? 100% affirm by hand vote.
Q: I’ve read the law concerning WISOR.. (301.45 et al)? 0-2% affirm.
Yep, I’ve done it.
It shows how the panel how ignorant the claimed informed can be.
While Mr. Brooks was made his stand, he didn’t have the fact in the law nor the facts of the crimes on his side.

in response to Lone Ranger:

Or perhaps he does care. Perhaps he is engaging in an intentional act of “civil disobedience” with a plan to challenge the unconstitutional law through the courts. Perhaps he is the “Rosa Parks” of PFRs. We should all support him if this is his intent.

In fact, I believe that we should consider and debate structuring a new strategy/tactic in which we as a people seek to commit acts of “civil disobedience” EN MASSE nationwide, that is, hundreds or thousands of us intentionally challenging these insane ordinances, laws, administrative regulations, etc. through overt acts in every state of the Union, be it as it may. (I would suggest we seek to challenge laws classified as infractions or misdemeanors and not felonies). Certainly, convictions for misdemeanor violations may trigger various other collateral consequences for some PFRs, and this should be taken under consideration.

Perhaps on Halloween, we should announce that we intend to pass out candy, go outside of our homes, turn on our lights, etc. etc. And should we get arrested, we should all plead “not guilty” and insist on a trial (provided that we can afford bail so we are not sitting in county jail awaiting due process). Crowding the calendars of courts across the country with these types of actions would be an opportunity to raise the collective consciousness of the general population, as well as the various stakeholders, such as prosecutors, judges, politicians, law enforcement officials, probation officers, etc.

In any event, we, as a collective body, should be seeking opportunities to engage in “pro-active” strategies/tactics. Channeling MLK Jr., “I have a dream that one day”, we as a people, join together, exercising our remaining Constitutionally protected rights. We must demonstrate through our actions that we will no longer sit idly by while these “people” sadistically destroy the remaining days of our lives. While ACSOL and other similar groups are doing important and meaningful work, the days, months, and years are ticking by, and here we sit. God’s work must truly be our own.

This law, which effectively equates to HOUSE ARREST for ALL registrants regardless of being on parole or probation or not, was once struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court only to be “reinstated” by the same CORRUPT court a few years afterward. And yet, nothing is done about it. Certainly not by ACSOL – I was told by Janice two years ago during one of the October ACSOL Conferences to reach out after I brought it up during one of the sessions. I did reach out. She called me back but unfortunately I missed the call. I then tried calling her back several times, but my calls were NEVER returned.
ACSOL obsesses about sheriffs putting up signs in people’s yards, yet Missouri registrants are also forced to put up signs AND are effectively under HOUSE ARREST one night a year (save for a few unconstitutionally vague exceptions).
Hey ACSOL: will you ever try to end this??? The ACLU doesn’t seem to care. I don’t think Tony Rothert would spit on us if we were on fire. He seemed to care in 2008 when this crap law was first passed. But, not any longer it seems.

I’m confused how this is legal for the police to do. Like what if you have an Adult Halloween party where only adults will be?

You’re not on parole or probation but it’s illegal for you to have your lights on or give out candy? What about your guests? What if they give out candy? Halloween isn’t just for kids.

Hell even what recently happened in Korea shows that Halloween is definitely not for kids. Was it 152 deaths and hundreds of injured?

side note, this reminds me of the notices they gave when I was on probation. Apparently someone was giving out meth and coke in the shape of candy. So there were fiends all around my neighborhood looking for the house.

My house, I took down the stairs to my front door, but this was more because people kept trying to break in.

Sounds like he was living with someone who was well Advanced in age and he was helping them decorate their house because they asked him too.
I would’ve started cussing at the cops too, if they started harassing and driving by somebody’s house who was kind enough to let me stay there.
If somebody decorates their house every year for 30 years, how in the Hell am I gonna tell them they can’t decorate their house this year because I’m here.

$25,000 cash bond for handing out candy? What is this world coming to.

Sounds like something one of my neighbors would have done.

I had a co-worker a few years back help me shovel my driveway because I am physically disabled. When he was finished we got in my vehicle and I drove him 1/2 mile to his parent’s house and dropped him off. I then drove to my house which is on a dead end street. As I pulled up to my house 2 police cars came up behind me. One cop came up on my driver’s side and pass side before I got out of my car.

They said that one of my neighbors called 911 and reported that I had a kid at my house shoveling the snow and I was not allowed to be around minors by law (not true and no court order was in force either – this is in Penn back around 2018). The young cop told me that another police officer is now questioning the kid that was shoveling that i had just dropped off about his age etc and what he was doing here. Now this is 3 cop cars involved and 3 cops.

I told the cops the guy is 21 years old. The young cop said that if I was lying about the kids age that they would be arresting me. I told both cops they will not be arresting me because he is 21 and I am not breaking any laws.

The 3rd cop drove up and told the other two cops that he checked the guy’s ID and he is 21 but looks younger.

The one older more seasoned cop that was talking to me at my driver side window told me I was free to go – Duh!! I was free to go to begin with idiot. He was polite and he even admitted that he did not know what the laws are for a registrant being around minors in PA. I told him there is no law unless there is a court order and that he should meet with supervisors and get this straightened out so they don’t pull this with some other registrant. The seasoned cop was very polite and even told me “Dude, you got a$$holes for neighbors for calling us on you”.

All three cops ended up being very apologetic and two of them even said they were embarrassed.

The neighbor I think that called the cops has since moved away. I guess he thought he knew the laws because he was (at that time) a corrections officer at the state prison that is 15 miles from here. I live on a dead-end street with only 4 neighbors.

So how much did it cost the town to send 3 cops to my house for nothing?

After it was all done I had wished that I was arrested and put in jail until they figured it all out. I had it in my mind that if they did arrest me I was not going to say anything. Egg would have been in their faces at the end. I was figuring it would have probably been false arrest.