MO. Judge Blocks Halloween Sex Offender Restrictions

A judge in Missouri has blocked rules requiring sex offenders to stay home on Halloween and refrain from Halloween-related activity with children

The judge, Carol E. Jackson, of United States District Court in St. Louis, said the law was unclear, questioning language that prohibits “all Halloween-related contact with children” and allows sexual offenders to leave their homes from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. only if they have “just cause.”

Two issues raised by the case were whether sexual offenders could celebrate the holiday with their own children or grandchildren, for example by hanging decorations or carving pumpkins, and on what grounds they could leave home during the curfew.

The judge upheld two other provisions. One requires sex offenders to post a sign that says "no candy or treats at this residence." The other requires them to keep the porch lights turned off.


Two issues raised by the case were whether sexual offenders could celebrate the holiday with their own children or grandchildren, for example by hanging decorations or carving pumpkins, and on what grounds they could leave home during the curfew.

A bigger problem:

“Once people have completed their sentences,” said [ACLU] lawyer, Anthony E. Rothert, “you can’t go back and punish them for the same crime.”

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  • Display: Sort:
    All the sex offender laws (none / 0) (#1)
    by coigue on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 10:36:17 PM EST
    seem to me like legislation via emotion.

    pointless restrictions (none / 0) (#2)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 10:41:41 PM EST
    These are just more in a long line of restrictions that protect nobody but make a big show of making people feel like they are safe from the big, bad sexual predators.

    I read somewhere that there is only one documented case of a child abduction/sexual assault stemming from Halloween trick-or-treating, and that was in Wisconsin in 1973, and the guy had no prior record, so these restrictions would not even have applied to him.

    People need to wake up and realize that the odds are astronomically higher that their children will be victimized by a family member or other family friend.  This stranger danger crap does almost nothing to protect children.

    what protects them, actually (none / 0) (#3)
    by coigue on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 11:25:38 PM EST
    is teaching them about sex, their body parts, the functions of theior body parts, and that they are natural, normal ,and can be openly talked about.

    It develops a trust with parents and a respect of their own body and their own boundries.


    Also (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 12:31:51 AM EST
    In all of recorded history, there have been zero (0) instances of poison, drugs, needles, or razor blades being inserted into Halloween candy and handed out to strangers.

    I always suspected... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 08:12:53 AM EST
    that when Moms was "inspecting the candy", she was really just pilfering all of her favorites out of my stash.  

    Either that or every Kit-Kat was suspect:)


    Halloween restrictions (none / 0) (#5)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 12:43:43 AM EST
    Gosh do I know about this one.  I have a relative (younger cousin) who was a cop until last year here in my city.  Long story short, him and his "buddies" made it a weekly ritual to get stupid drunk every weekend.  The host buddy has two small daughters.  One of them accused my cousin of 'touching' her.  After 18 months of the case being pushed back and pushed back and an attorney who was in the hospital more than defending my cousin, my cousin got deferred ajudication for 5 yrs but had to register as a sex offender.

    After he lost his cop job he had to move back home w/my aunt and uncle.  After his sentencing, he had to move because his parents lived right next to a park.  No one in the family wanted to let him stay with them because of him having to register as a sex offender (published in our paper with his picture and address), I let him move in with me until his parents could buy him a house (thank goodness he closes on Nov 17th).

    His p.o. came for a home visit and made me take down all my Halloween stuff.  I was disappointed but I understood.  I get TONS of tricks or treaters and am really bummed because Halloween is a Fri this year.  Just going to have to stay home with the lights out and we cannot come to the door, nor can he leave at all, and he must be home by sundown.

    I feel that these restrictions are nuts but that's the result of conservative, republican, morons writing legislation here in texas (and my aunt, uncle and cousin who gleefully voted republican...until now...now that all their republican/christian friends deserted them). Footnote:  Me being gay and liberal, I wanted to show them that our side IS the more tolerant and understanding.

    Whoever referenced the stranger danger thing is right.  Children are moreso than not are molested by those they know.  The restrictions instill some kind of safety net to the masses.  He11, Halloween started getting dicey when I was kid with the apple razorblade crap.  

    I don't know if my cousin actually did what he was accused of.  he insisted he didn't but i wasn't there.  i do know that sometimes those who take a hardline on criminals, find out the repurcussions of their voting habits and mores, and it comes to bite them in the a55.

    These republican voters have no friend in court when the things they rally against sadly become a part of their harsh reality.

    I hope that more fair-minded judges will one day realize that these blanket rulings can sometimes cause more harm than good.  No one knows about these things until they either go through it or witness it.  One thing though:  the restrictions are a pain but I remind him everyday that he should be thankful he didn't go to prison...an ex-cop accused of touching a little girl?  He'd be DOA.

    It really is a good policy (none / 0) (#8)
    by eric on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 10:15:00 AM EST
    to never, ever be alone with someone's child.  I know that sounds outrageous, but my wife has had two clients with stories very similar to your counsin's.  A party, a young kid, throw in a jealous spouse or girlfriend, and whammo, you are screwed for life.

    I would think.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 08:15:02 AM EST
    it is an unalienable right to give away candy, and whether you can turn on your porch light or not.

    Good to hear the judge threw out the loonier portions of this hysterical law, but she didn't go far enough, imo.

    sex offenders and grooming (none / 0) (#9)
    by diogenes on Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 07:29:13 PM EST
    An active sex offender who is smart will use Halloween to size up the neighborhood kids, be friendly and build his reputation (e.g. lots of candy, indoor haunted house, etc), and make them into acquaintances he could start pursuing later.
    What exactly is the good reason for sex offenders to give Halloween candy?  Next you'll say that they have a right to work as carnies on the merry-go-round at the county fair.