Arkansas Court Sets Hearing Date for Halloween Sign Challenge

Source: ACSOL The federal district court in Arkansas where a lawsuit has been filed challenging a Halloween sign requirement set a hearing in the case for May 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the fifth floor courtroom in Fayetteville.  The purpose of that hearing is “to assess the pretrial needs of the case.”  According to the court document, the trial date for the case will also be set during that hearing. Prior to the May 2 hearing, both parties are required to file several documents, including an important document that is…

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AR: Lawsuit Filed Challenging Halloween Sign Requirement in Arkansas County

Source: ACSOL A lawsuit was filed on January 18 challenging a Halloween sign requirement in Marion County, Arkansas.  The Halloween sign was created by the government and a registration officer taped the sign to the front door of a registrant’s home.  The sign was required to be posted for about two weeks, one week before Halloween and one week after Halloween. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff in the case objected to the posting of the Halloween sign on his home and told the registration officer that the sign violated…

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Janice’s Journal: Bullies Come in All Sizes

Bullies come in all sizes.  There are schoolyard bullies who steal children’s lunch money.  There are gang members who steal people’s cars.  And there are terrorists who hijack airplanes. What these bullies have in common is that they threaten and intimidate others.  And when their threats and intimidation don’t work, they sometimes resort to violence. In the registrant community, bullies abound.  Sometimes they come in the form of a parole officer who threatens to return a registrant to prison if he does not do what they are told to do. …

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MO: Federal Judge Sets Trial Date for Halloween Sign Case in Missouri

Source: ACSOL A federal judge today set March 27, 2024, as the trial date for the Halloween sign case in Missouri.  The trial will be conducted before the judge only, with no jury, in Halloween case – U.S. District Court, Eastern District, in St. Louis – Court Order – Trial Setting etc.  The trial will be open to the public. During the trial, the court will consider both whether the Halloween sign requirement violates the First Amendment and whether to issue the existing statewide temporary restraining order (TRO) on a…

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MO: Multiple people arrested in Mid-Missouri, accused of breaking Halloween sex offender rules

Source: abc17news.com 11/1/23 Multiple people were arrested in Mid-Missouri on Tuesday on suspicion of not complying with sex-offender Halloween restrictions.   In Chariton County, Timothy _____, 42, of Salisbury, was arrested on suspicion of several charges. He was charged with failure to register as a sex offender, drug possession, two counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, and misdemeanors including failure to comply with Halloween-related restrictions for sex offenders and two counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held at the Randolph County…

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LA: Some good Halloween news from Louisiana

Source: NARSOL 10/31/23 NARSOL is pleased to report that our efforts to end the practice of “No-candy” Halloween warning signs have borne fruit in Louisiana. This outcome is a direct result of the precedential case in Georgia NARSOL sponsored, McClendon v. Long. A week before Halloween, 2023, NARSOL made the determination that three specific parishes in Louisiana were requiring everyone on the sex offender registry within their jurisdictions to post “No candy at this residence” signs on their house; in their yard; or, in one of the three, on the…

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CA: Riverside “cracking down” on registrants; “not supposed to be handing out candy on Halloween”

Source: ktla.com 10/31/23 In an effort to protect children, actively monitoring registered sex offenders is what a certain group of dogs are specially trained for. These aren’t just regular dogs. These K9s — named Chewie and Solo — are professionally trained to catch predators as part of their full-time job with the Riverside County Child Exploitation Team. Chewie and Solo are electronic scent detection dogs that can sniff out a variety of devices and tech that may hold potential evidence police may need. They work as part of a task…

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MA: Hampden County Probation visits sex offenders on Halloween to ensure their lights are off

Source: masslive.com  10/31/23 SPRINGFIELD — Children dressed as superheroes, a ghost and one with an inflatable bat costume were running down the sidewalk trick-or-treating but when they hit Merimac Street they found one home dark and unwelcoming. While the children may have been disappointed to have to skip the house, a team of officers from the Hampden County Probation Department were happy to see it looking forbidding since at least two men who live there are registered sex offenders. When John Sandillo pounded on the door unannounced, they could hear…

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Janice’s Journal: This Federal Court Got It Right — Mostly

Note:  The beginning of this column was written on Friday, October 27.  The end of this column was written on Monday, October 30. The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, got it right today when they granted our motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  The court looked at the facts presented to them and asked the right questions.  In doing so, the court shifted the burden of proof to the government. That is, the court required the government to provide solid evidence that a sign on the front…

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Missouri good news! 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds TRO, Denies AG’s Motion

In a terse two-sentence decision issued today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the federal district court on Friday.  As a result, registrants in Missouri are not required to post a sign on the front door of their home on Halloween this year. “We are grateful that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to protect registrants as well as their families and homes,”  stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “It was a difficult battle and we won!” The specific ruling today…

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GA: Effingham County Sheriff’s Office continues to keep “dangerous” sex offenders off the streets during Halloween weekend

Source: wsav.com 10/26/23 EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) — Law enforcement in Effingham County is upping their presence in the public during the holiday weekend, and they are making sure sex offenders are not on the streets during trick-or-treating. “We want to make sure that the kids have a stressless event for Halloween,” Brian Bailey, public information officer with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, said. That is why Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie requires sex offenders with serious offenses to report to the jail on Halloween between the hours of 6 to 9…

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GA: Want to avoid sex offenders in your neighborhood this Halloween? Read this before trick-or-treating

Source: fox5atlanta.com 10/23/23 There are over 24,500 registered sex offenders in the state of Georgia. Only some of them have to follow a special set of rules on Halloween.  Those who are on parole or probation must: Turn off all outside lights Not decorate their home for the holiday, or pass out candy Not answer the door, unless it’s for a law enforcement officer or an emergency responder In the past, the Atlanta Police Department has sent parole officers to visit the homes of sex offenders throughout the night to…

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MO: Briefs Filed Regarding Request to Stop Missouri’s Halloween Sign Mandate

Source: ACSOL Briefs have been filed by both parties, in support of and in opposition to, a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  If the motion is granted, registrants in Missouri would not be required to post signs on the front door of their homes on Halloween. Plaintiff’s reply brief was filed today as required by the court.  That brief focuses on the fact that the sign mandate violates the First Amendment because it is compelled speech, required by the government and objected to by the registrant.  The brief…

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MO: Hazelwood man’s Halloween displays were lavish. A sex offender law forced him to quit

Source: stltoday.com 10/9/23 ST. LOUIS — Thomas Sanderson’s Halloween festivities were a neighborhood tradition. For more than two decades, the Hazelwood resident put together a “lavish display” featuring animatronic figures and creatures, lights, music, fog machines, a bonfire and — of course — candy. But on Halloween in 2022, a half-dozen police cars descended upon Sanderson’s property and asked to search his home. Sanderson had been convicted of a sex offense in 2006, and police argued he had violated a state law that prohibits people on the sex offender registry…

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ACSOL News Alert: Federal Lawsuit Challenges Missouri Halloween Sign Requirement

A lawsuit was filed in a federal district court this week challenging a state law in Missouri that requires registrants to post a sign on the front door of their home on Halloween.  The plaintiff in the case, Thomas J. Sanderson, was arrested last year for violating that and other requirements of the state law at issue. The basis of the legal challenge is the First Amendment that not only allows citizens to speak but also protects citizens from compelled speech which has been defined as a requirement to utter…

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

Source: fox2now.com 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. Read the full article  

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