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Children trick-or-treat on Halloween
Less than a month after the city of Simi Valley approved restrictions of registered sex offenders’ Halloween activities, it has been sued for allegedly violating the first amendment rights of convicted sex criminals and their families.
The new law bans individuals convicted of sex crimes from displaying Halloween decorations and lighting on their homes every October 31. Offenders listed on the Megan’s Law website are additionally required to post a sign on the front door in letters at least an inch tall that reads: “No candy or treats at this residence.” Both requirements violate free speech rights, according to the lawsuit.
Several California municipalities, including communities in Riverside County and the city of Orange, enforce Halloween laws for sex offenders. Janice Bellucci, the lawyer representing five registered sex offenders and their family members, said Monday she plans to ask a federal judge for an injunction to stop Simi Valley from enforcing its new law this Halloween.
Mayor Bob Huber, who introduced the new restrictions, declined to comment because of the pending litigation. Does the new law in Simi Valley violate sex offender’s free speech rights? Would you feel your kids were safer if there were similar “no candy” laws in your community?
Janice Bellucci, Lawyer in private practice based in Santa Barbara County; Board President, California Reform Sex Offender Laws
Carolyn V. Cavecche, Mayor, City of Orange