Simi Valley, CA – Halloween restrictions put in place to protect trick or treating children from registered sex offenders prompted a lawsuit. Simi Valley’s new Halloween law bans sexual predators from displaying holiday decorations and outside lighting on their property during the evening of October 31. Released felons on the Megan’s Law website must also post a note which tells children that candy or treats are not available at the home.
A total of 119 registered sex offenders living in the Simi Valley joined in a lawsuit in opposition to the trick or treating ban, claiming that their First Amendment rights are being violated, according to the Los Angeles Times. The convicts maintain that their rights of free speech are being curtailed and that the sign posting mandate singles them out and could ostracize them in their community.
Some of the lawsuit plaintiffs have been convicted of misdemeanors crimes and do not have their names displayed on the Megan’s Law website list, but 67 have been found guilty of more serious sex crimes. Simi Valley police officers do not have records of any crimes involving children taking place during Halloween trick or treating.
Attorney Janice Bellucci represents five registered sex offenders, three of their wives, and two of their children. She noted plans to seek a federal injunction to prevent the city of Simi Valley from enacting the new law during the upcoming Halloween trick or treating event. Bellucci heads the California Reform Sex Offender Laws advocacy group, according to NBC.
Bellucci had this to say about the law which bans registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween activities:
“To us, it’s similar to branding. We can think of what happened in Nazi Germany, where Jews had to appear in public with yellow stars.”
City Attorney Marjorie Baxter called the Simi Valley lawsuit groundless. Comparing the posting of a “no candy” sign on registered sex offender’s doors to the tragic suffering of Holocaust victims garnered angry backlash once the story gained national attention.
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