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California Lawsuit Seeks Dismissal of Halloween Law for Sex Offenders

Monday, September 23, 2013

A new lawsuit seeks dismissal of a California law that requires persons convicted of sex crimes and enrolled in a sex offender registry to post a sign in front of their homes on Halloween evening, discouraging neighborhood children from visiting the houses while trick-or-treating.

According to the lawsuit that was filed by the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group, the law that requires offenders to post a sign outside their homes on Halloween, is highly unconstitutional, and should be thrown out. The rule is currently in place in the city of Orange, where offenders are required to post a warning sign measuring 12" x 24" outside their homes. The sign should say “no candy or treat at this residence. “. Violators can be fined up to $1,000, and can spend up to six months in jail.

According to the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group, the rule is a violation of First Amendment rights. The rule is highly discriminating towards registered sex offenders, who have already served their sentence for their crimes, and places these persons at risk of physical and emotional harm. Family members of these offenders may also suffer the effects of such discrimination because of their loved one's past.

According to the lawsuit, instead of protecting children, these rules place hundreds of residents in the city at risk of harm. So far, no Orange city sex offender has been convicted of a violation of the ordinance.
Such controversial laws against persons convicted of sex crimes, have also been enacted in Simi Valley. In that city, the rule requires offenders to keep their lights off on Halloween night, refrain from decorating their homes or answering their doors to children who arrive at their home.


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