A group of sex offenders in Southern California’s Simi Valley are upset about a law that prevents them from fully taking part in all the usual Halloween festivities.
The Los Angeles Times reports that, under the month-old law, registered sex offenders are barred from putting up Halloween displays and outside lighting. Offenders listed on the Megan’s Law website are also required to post a sign that says, “No candy or treats at this residence.”
Attorney Janice Bellucci, who is representing the five sex offenders in the suit, said the law reeks of discrimination and is reminiscent of when Nazis made Jews wear yellow stars.
That’s a bit of a stretch, according to Jezebel’s Doug Barry.
“The plight of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany and the inability of sex offenders in Southern California to put jack-o-lanterns on their doorsteps to ward off the pumpkin monster from Trick ‘R Treat are two very, very, VERY different things,” Barry writes.
But he also notes that, “Bellucci has a (small) point.”
Lumping all sex offenders into a single group of detestable humans and preventing them from doing something as trivial as stuffing fake cobwebs in their hedges sounds like the sort of measure middling local politicians pass to pad their resumes and prove to their communities that they’re “tough on crime.”
Simi Valley councilman and LAPD officer Mike Judge told NBC Los Angeles that the law is modeled after other ordinances in Southern California locales.
“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.”
Update: Five registered sex offenders, along with their families, are suing the city of Sumi Valley, CA, alleging their right to freedom of speech is being violated. The ban prevents their families from being able to take part and enjoy the holiday. Three of the five offenders have spouses and two have young children.
The ordinance states Simi Valley’s 119 registered sex offenders are banned from displaying Halloween decorations at their homes.
On October 31, they will be required to turn off all exterior lighting and post a sign on their doors that reads in at least one-inch-tall letters: ‘No candy or treats at this residence.