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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

No Halloween for Sex Offenders

Posted by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM
  • 31 Replies

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/03/14202253-no-halloween-for-sex-offenders-they-challenge-california-citys-restrictions?lite&ocid=msnhp


An attorney representing five Simi Valley sex offenders who sued the city over limits to their Halloween activities said the lawsuit will be the first of several she expects to file over such restrictions.

Lawyer Janice Bellucci heads the 18-month-old advocacy group California Reform Sex Offender Laws. On Friday, she filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Simi Valley's ordinance violates her clients' First Amendment rights.

The suit seeks a judge's order prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance in Simi Valley, which has 119 registered sex offenders, according to a city report. Bellucci is representing five unnamed sex offenders, three of their spouses and two minor children, she said.

The ordinance, adopted Sept. 10, prohibits registered sex offenders in the Ventura County city of about 125,000 from displaying Halloween decorations, answering the door to trick-or-treaters or having outside lighting after dark on Oct. 31.

Simi Valley councilman and LAPD officer Mike Judge said the law is modeled after similar Halloween laws enforced in other California cities, and is meant to protect children.

"This law was generated by citizens asking the City Council to do something," Judge said. "And it didn’t seem unreasonable for the City Council to take it up.

"As far as I’m concerned, our law doesn’t go as far as other laws in the state of California and it still, in our opinion, protects our children a little bit better than not having it."

Registered sex offenders are also required to post signs with on their front doors reading, in 1-inch letters, "No candy or treats at this residence." Those offenders visible to the public on the state's Megan's Law website and convicted of a crime against a child are required to post the sign.

Sixty-seven of the city's offenders are listed on the website, according to a city report; the rest are convicted of misdemeanors and don't have their names on the public list.

Bellucci said the sign-posting requirement was "particularly egregious."

"We consider that to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution," Bellucci said Tuesday.

The ordinance both imposes "forced speech" – the sign – and restricts speech by prohibiting Halloween celebrations, she said.

"It's similar to Jews in Nazi Germany who had to wear the yellow star on their clothing," Bellucci said.

The Simi Valley measure is part of a trend of increasing strict restrictions on the activities of convicted sex offenders who have "paid their debt to society," Bellucci said.

Her organization intends to begin filing lawsuits to challenge other statutes, she said.

The office of Simi Valley City Attorney Marjorie Baxter said the city had not been served with Bellucci's complaint, so it had no comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Baxter was quoted in the Ventura County Star, which first reported on the lawsuit, as saying: "We thoroughly researched the ordinance and I don't feel the lawsuit has any merit, and we will defend it vigorously."

At an Aug. 20 initial City Council hearing on the ordinance, a deputy city attorney told council members that "traditional trick or treat activities associated with Halloween provide have the potential to provide significant opportunities for sex offenders to victimize minors."

Council members at that time expressed some concern about legal repercussions, as well as worries that residents who decide not to decorate will be thought by neighbors to be sex offenders.

The police chief told the council that he could find no records of a sex crime against a child on Halloween in Simi Valley.

Those who are convicted of violating the ordinance would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in county jail, according to a city staff report.

California residents who have been convicted of or pleaded no contest or guilty to a sex-related offense must register with local public safety authorities.  Offenders are listed on the registry for life

by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM
3 moms liked this

I know I am going to sound like an ass.. but

I agree with the ordinance

MyLittlePwny
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM

That was my initial reaction, but there are sex offenders out there who's convictions were not against children.  Say, an 18 year old who had sex with his 16 year old girlfriend and her parents pressed charges.  Sex offender doesn't always equal child predator.

Quoting Sekirei:

I know I am going to sound like an ass.. but

I agree with the ordinance


Roxygurl
by Bronze Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM
1 mom liked this
I'd like to know the statistics of children being sexually abused by someone when they knocked on the door asking for candy.

I honestly don't care one way or another about the law and I believe we have the same rules here but I do think its pointless.

Instead of requiring all of sex offenders to adhere to the new rules shouldn't we as parents be more vigilant? Shouldn't we be reminded that on Halloween you need to walk with your children door to door? Shouldn't parents be responsible for their children rather than give them a false sense of security by making a sex offender put a note on their door?
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eema.gray
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM
1 mom liked this

I think it should be required for all sexual predators who were convicted of sexual contact with children who they are not related to rather than painting every predator with the same broad brush.  People who offend within their extended family are statistically unlikely to prey on unrelated children and the reverse as well.

AMBG825
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM
As pointed out most registered offenders didn't commit crimes against children. Seems rather silly to say they can't even hang a poster in their window.

Here what they do is make offenders physically check in with their parole officer. They are required to be there until 9. Since ToTing is over at 8 the kids should be off the streets.
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pumpkinbutter
by New Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM

we don't do holloween (door to door kind) in our family because there are weirdos out there who might stick something in the candy or who knows what....we do harvest celebration with family members and close friends and can dress up etc. and have wholesome family fun. :) no weirdos or questionable people involved.

Jade89
by Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM
Me too


Quoting Sekirei:

I know I am going to sound like an ass.. but

I agree with the ordinance


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
MyLittlePwny
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

I grew up with the notion that people may stick something into our halloween candy - and it's never happened.  My parents checked our candy before we were allowed to eat it and we do the same with ours.  As long as you're out with your children ToTing I don't see an issue with "weirdos"

Quoting pumpkinbutter:

we don't do holloween (door to door kind) in our family because there are weirdos out there who might stick something in the candy or who knows what....we do harvest celebration with family members and close friends and can dress up etc. and have wholesome family fun. :) no weirdos or questionable people involved.


Tanya93-
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

There are no real cases of people putting things in candy in order to harm trick or treaters at Halloween.

Quoting pumpkinbutter:

we don't do holloween (door to door kind) in our family because there are weirdos out there who might stick something in the candy or who knows what....we do harvest celebration with family members and close friends and can dress up etc. and have wholesome family fun. :) no weirdos or questionable people involved.


mommybug77
by Bronze Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Where my parents live they all have to go to a sex offenders meeting on Halloween so they can't even be home
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