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October 3, 2012

More on sex offenders' First Amendment challenge to local halloween challenge in California

In this post a few days ago, I reported on a notable (and groundbreaking?) legal action against a common local law this time of year being brought in California. Thanks to this new local article, headlined "Calif. Sex Offenders Sue to Overturn Halloween Restrictions," I can provide more information about this intriguing litigation:

An attorney representing five sex offenders who sued a southern Californian 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....

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.... 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."

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.

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Comments

No one who supports this stupidty can call him/herself an American. It would be wonderful if we could deport those people to a different country where they fit in better. Why are we Americans allowing these people to commit such crimes?

The sad part of this is that the criminal city council members will never be held fully personally responsible for their crimes. It would be difficult for governments to function well if their members were in constant fear of easily being held personally accountable but we should be able punish particularly eggregious and intentional stupid behavior, no? Bozo Mike Judge should be severly fined and put in jail for a good while.

I loved this part - "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." Isn't that just the perfect demonstration of the pure through and through stupidity of these city council members? What a bunch of morons. The hilarious part is that there probably are a lot of residents there who would jump to the conclusion mentioned. The SEX OFFENDER Registries are THE monument to the vast stupidity and decline of the U.S. The only way it will be controlled and slowed is by smart people.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 3, 2012 12:44:14 PM

Some could post "No candy or treats at this residence" on front doors of dark houses in random neighborhoods. Not exactly a terrorist act but appealing anyway.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 3, 2012 3:27:49 PM

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

Uh huh...So similar, except that the Jews--including toddlers--hadn't done anything wrong.

Registered sex offenders have done wrong.

Oh yeah...and "Simi Valley's ordinance" limiting Halloween activities is not a national 365-day-a-year public blight as was the Juden Star.

Posted by: Adamakis | Oct 3, 2012 4:29:13 PM

You're wrong, Adamakis.

Paragraph 175

Historical Context

An unnatural sex act committted between persons of male sex or by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights may also be imposed.

- German Penal Code, 1871

Between 1933 and 1945, according to Nazi documents, approximately 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality. Roughly half were sentenced to prison and approximately 10,000 to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps. The death rate of homosexual prisoners in the camps is estimated to be as high as sixty percent (among the highest of non-Jewish prisoners), so that by 1945 only about 4,000 survived.

That gay men were persecuted by the Nazis and branded with a pink triangle is becoming common knowledge. Less well known is that many gay survivors were subjected to ongoing persecution in post-Nazi Germany, where they were seen not as political prisoners but as criminals under the Nazi sodomy law, which remained on the books even after liberation. Some were actually re-arrested after the war and re-imprisoned. All were excluded from reparations by the German government, and their time spent in concentration camps was deducted from their pensions. Escape by suicide, marriage, or retreat into isolation was common. In the 1950s and 1960s, the number of convictions for homosexuality in West Germany was as high as it had been during Nazi rule. The Nazi version of the sodomy law remained on the books until 1969.

When the international community sought atonement for the victims of Hitler's Germany at the Nuremberg Trials of 1946, neither the atrocities committed against homosexuals nor the anti-gay legislation and measures were mentioned. Homophobia and anti-gay persecution were accepted as normal in post-war Europe and in the United States. Holocaust research, memorials, and museums likewise ignored the fate of homosexual concentration camp inmates. Still today, the German government refuses to officially acknowledge homosexual men as victims of the Nazi regime. Other European countries have similar poicies of exclusion and non-recognition.

In the 1990's, researchers began to document the histories of the men who wore pink triangles. The first institution to do so was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which changed public perceptions by including the Nazi persecution of homosexuals in their exhibits. Encouraged by historians and the museum, several gay survivors -- some of them in their late 80s and early 90s -- came forward to tell their stories for the first time, ending decades of unnatural silence and isolation. In 1995, eight survivors issued a collective declaration demanding judicial and moral recognition of their persecution.

The "New" Paragraph 175

Paragraph 175 had been part of German criminal code from time of the German Empire under Kaiser Wilhelm I. As part of a massive rewriting of the criminal code, Nazi jurists revised Paragraph 175. Issued on June 28, 1935, and put into effect on September 1, 1935, the revision emphasized the criminality of both men involved in "indecency."

The revised law opened the way to new judicial interpretations because criminalized homosexuality was no longer described as "unnatural" (though the term frequently appeared in police documents thereafter). Even before the new law went into effect, Nazi courts expanded the range of so-called indecent acts beyond the single offense prosecuted under the old law. By 1938, German courts ruled that any contact between men deemed to have sexual intent, even "simple looking" or "simple touching," could be grounds for arrest and conviction.

New language added as Paragraph 175a specifically imposed up to ten years' hard labor for "indecency" committed under coercion, with adolescents under the age of 21, and for male prostitution. In practice, however, individuals victimized by acts punishable under these new provisions could be - and were - prosecuted as criminals according to Paragraph 175. (The revised law left homosexuality between women unmentioned.)

Posted by: George | Oct 3, 2012 5:40:05 PM

The children of sex offenders are the ones punished. They must have a sign on their door, are not allowed to decorate for the holiday. Is it also required that they go to bed early since the lights must be turned out? I suppose they can play in the dark. Can they wear Halloween costumes?
What crime did the children of sex offenders commit?

Posted by: Obvious | Oct 3, 2012 9:50:12 PM

Nice ideal anon. But considering the 100's if not 1,000's of news reports about law enforcment getting caugh with their hands and other apendages where they don't belong. Would be more true to life to put them up outside the local cop shop.

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 4, 2012 12:03:25 AM

As far as putting the "no candy" sign on the doors of homes of non-Registrants, that is something all patriotic Americans there should do as a show of support for America. Americans believe in freedom and do not believe in governments doing moronic things to restrict it. They should show this criminal government that they don't need nanny big government to raise their children. They should show that they don't want a government that focuses on stupidity such as this. At the next elections, they need to get these criminals off of their city council.

Obvious (Oct 3, 2012 9:50:12 PM): I haven't read anything about this law that says the criminal government is attempting to force Registrants to do anything within their homes. That would be even more outrageous. These Registrants can decorate within their homes all they like and of course have any lights on that they like. Further, these Registrants and their families should simply celebrate Halloween however they like. They could have a Halloween party in their homes and invite many families over. Or, just take their children and go trick-or-treating. I personally always did that but I didn't do it near where I lived because the "good", "pure" people who lived around me were actually un-American, scumbag, menaces. So anyway, this law will do little to squelch how people can live freely and it absolutely will do nothing at all toward accomplishing what is supposedly this criminal regime's primary pathetic excuse for passing this law - which they said was to prevent contact between Registrants and trick-or-treating children.

You are right that the children of Registrants are being punished. But that has nothing to do with this law. That punishment is 365 days a year, all the time. Which is a big reason why today, I punish the people who support the Registries and their families. It's the right thing to do.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 4, 2012 8:43:29 AM

Maybe as more realize what this war is about they will stop kissing ass and start taking risks.

The Nazi Census: Identification and Control in the Third Reich

Review
"There can be few complaints about The Nazi Census as a history of the Nazi period. It is regularly cited in published works for facts about dates of registration programs and change in citizenship policy. As part of Aly's attempt to augment the complicity of silence with the complicity of science, it is also an important work in an evolving historiography on Nazi world-making and -unmaking. The book is also fascinating as a revelation of the recent pedigree of many everyday practices of the state." H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences "The Nazi Census is a book of great historical originality and considerable topical urgency. The authors provide a chilling historical perspective to contemporary preoccupations with the logics and limits of identity registration and documentation. Unrivalled as a political history of population statistics and identity documentation in Nazi Germany, the book is also not afraid of controversy. Not everyone will accept the authors' grim message about the inherently dehumanizing effects of the statistical process, but their readable and quirkily original book makes a powerful case for seeing data collection as a threat to individual safety rather than a solution to problems of security in the modern world." --Jane Caplan, Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor of European History, Bryn Mawr College and Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford "Originally published in 1984, this controversial study challenges census-taking by examining how the Hitlerian regime pioneered both the concepts and the processes of modern statistics-gathering about populations. No reader of this fascinating study can fail to be moved by the coldly bureaucratic thoroughness and mechanical efficiency with which the Nazis went about their business of targeting Jews, Gypsies, and other socially or biologically unwanted segments of German society." --Michael R. Marrus, Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto

Posted by: Anon | Oct 4, 2012 4:24:13 PM

How true anon. We know know where all those criminals from the fallout of what was left of nazi germany went. Everyone though it was South American. Seems instead it was here and it took them what 30 years or so to weizel thier ways into control and now we are basically shafted. Since it would take another combined effort of the world to again kill all thier asses.

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 4, 2012 9:56:48 PM

" " You're wrong, Adamakis. " "

You're irrelevant, George.

Kindly, review:

the Jews--including toddlers--hadn't done anything wrong.

Registered sex offenders have done wrong.

Oh yeah...and "Simi Valley's ordinance" limiting Halloween activities is not a national 365-day-a-year public blight as was the Juden Star.

Posted by: Adamakis | Oct 5, 2012 10:32:28 AM

The children of sex offenders are the ones punished.

Get more... Austin DWI lawyer

Posted by: shieckmujibur | Oct 5, 2012 11:54:04 AM

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

A pink triangle is similar to the yellow star.

They all had to register.

They were all sent to concentration camps.

They were all subject to death.

That is similar.

You're still wrong, Adamakis. Unless you are saying the Nazis were right and so what if it is similar because they were criminals. Is that it?

Posted by: George | Oct 5, 2012 1:23:49 PM

Adamakis (Oct 5, 2012 10:32:28 AM):

You are right. The holocaust is on a whole different scale than the SEX OFFENDER witch hunt. And its victims did nothing wrong. The scale of the two are not comparable.

However, there are some similarities and there is nothing wrong with keeping the holocaust in mind when we are considering ostracizing and harassing people. Also, I firmly believe that ALL people who would have "gone along" with Germany during the holocaust would support the witch hunt and that a very large percentage of the people who do support the Registries are people who likely would have AT LEAST silently endorsed the holocaust. The type of people who would support both are a lot more similar than you think.

So, "Registered sex offenders have done wrong." Yes, most have. But of course we know that does not give the criminal governments or anyone else free reign to just do whatever they want to those people whenever they want. There is not a single good American who supports that. Heck, forget the American part - good people don't support that.

And who cares if Simi Valley's law is not 365 days a year? The rest of it is. Simi Valley's law is not even that big of a deal. It would have little practical effect on me. The problem with it is that it is so idiotic, worthless, and unnecessary, that it is simply heinous harassment. It offends any sensible person. It cannot be supported by any facts or sense. Rational people who do support the Registries should never associate themselves with this kind of stupidity.

If this criminal government were actually serious about trying to "protect children" like they lie, they would have passed an ordinance that required trick-or-treating children to be supervised by responsible, non-Registry-using adults. It's that simple. That would stop the Halloween molestation epidemic and even some other trial matters like children being murdered by vehicles.

But we see that these criminal governments aren't really serious about protecting children and that is never what these laws are about. You will never catch them trying to promote just a little bit of #&!@ing personal responsibility in this HUGE declining cesspool of stupidity that is the U.S. general population. They won't do that perhaps because they are just as stupid, if not worse? They will never cease telling you how much you need government though. How many laws are enough?

Speaking of which, the public deficit is running over $1,000,000,000,000 a year. Is there any particular reason that these criminal governments can't waste just a little bit more money by getting the rest of the Registries going? They have NO legitimate excuses not to and that is complete proof that the SEX OFFENDER Registries, and the adjunct stupidity, are not about protecting anyone.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Oct 5, 2012 1:54:08 PM

So FRegistryTerrorists supports sending criminals to concentration camps too. Perhaps with the qualification they are not burned in ovens .... yet.

That is no surprise because in the U.S. before the Nazis came to power they were called colonies and the euphemism was eugenics, taught in every text book. Colonies became too expensive so that evolved into sterilization which our SCOTUS approved in Buck v Bell.

Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection

Posted by: George | Oct 5, 2012 4:11:21 PM

On another reading, I see that FRegistryTerrorists fell for Adamakis's straw man.

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

Bellucci never claimed it was equivalent to the Holocaust, which pertains to the Jewish people. She said the labels were similar and they are. There are other similarities too. It helps to remember the Nazis were enforcing German law.

Posted by: George | Oct 5, 2012 5:51:08 PM

You know... sooner or later I get one VERY bad feeling there's going to be a Nazi style "round-up" right here in America. It's happened here before! when? During WWII when the Japanese were sent to internment camps!! I think I have a pretty good idea "who" the next "dirty jews" are going to end up being... ALL THE NATION'S SEX OFFENDERS FROM AGE 5 to 115!!! I have a small "assignment" for everyone who wants to look into this frightening and actually NOT so unrealistic possibility: Google: "Sex offenders Jews germany". Google: "Fema Camps." To know the truth about these things, you can't just listen to the yea sayers and the naysayers. Youv'e got to go check them out for yourself. Or you can just take the "easy way out" and write me off as a paranoid "conspiracy kook" and be done with it. I don't really care anymore. I am SICK and TIRED of trying to warn people who refuse to "listen" and will not "believe!" The skeptics all think that they're SO SMART! I give you this grave warning: Pre WWII Germany had it's "conspiracy kooks" too! Those "wise ones" tried to warn the impish skeptics of society at large, and they, too were written off as "delusional." But if the aforementioned "worst case scenario" does occur, and you wrote me off as a whack-job, I'm not going sit and listen to you as you cry. Because out of the googness of my dumb old heart, I "tried" to tell you! I even gave you things that you can research on the internet.

Posted by: ProfessorJim | Jan 26, 2013 5:48:32 AM

I don't understand why almost everyone is so 'pro sex-offenders' on this comment board. OK, so the kids of sex offenders can't hand out candy. Waaaaaaaaa. No, they did nothing wrong, however, their parent did and MUST live with the consequences. The ONLY thing I see as a problem with this article is that not all the sex offenders that were convicted involved children, but they also have to post the sign. And I'm ok with that.

If it were my neighborhood and I still had trick-or-treat aged children I would LOVE to have some inkling that the house my 4 or 8 or 12 year old daughter (or son) is going to has a sex offender residing in it.

You all preach about the rights of sex offenders, what about my children's (or anyone elses children's) rights to go unmolested?!?!?!?!?

As someone else pointed out, it isn't for the entire year, it is just for the one night every year that our culture allows children to go begging for candy.

The person that said it was similar to Nazi Germany? I am Jewish, and I have family who died there. Because they were Jewish. NOT because they were deviants! Yes, the Nazi also targeted homosexuals, they also did NOTHING wrong and are not deviants. MOST sex offenders are HETEROSEXUAL. Your comment was offensive in the extreme.

I am well aware that our prison industrial complex is bursting at the seams because of our society's penchant for criminalizing so many things that probably ought not be criminalized. HOWEVER, sex offenses, both against adults and against children are not any of those things!!!

You can cry about 'it's a disease' all you want, and maybe it is. If it is, it's a disease that shouldn't be around children. EVER. If they need therapy, fine, let them get it in jail. The possibility of it being a disease does NOT negate the crime to the victim. EVER.

Posted by: Mumsay | Mar 3, 2013 10:02:21 PM

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