Orange Repeals Ordinance Requiring Sex Offenders to Post Signs at Homes on Halloween

See Update No. 2 at the end of this post on the Orange City Council repealing the sign requirement in its Halloween ordinance. Update No. 1 was on the city attorney recommending that action.

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ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 18, 6:10 P.M.: A federal lawsuit was filed today challenging a city of Orange ordinance that requires sex offenders to post signs on the front door of their residences on Halloween, according to a group trying to change such laws in California.

Reform Sex Offenders Laws (RSOL) claims in its complaint that the ordinance violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and puts sex offenders and their family members at risk for physical and emotional harm.

The ordinance would also violate the Fourth Amendment protecting citizens from unreasonable seizures if sex offenders were jailed for violating it. Those who do not obey the Orange law are subject to fines up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail, according to RSOL.

The Orange City Attorney's office was closed as this post was published, so no comment could be received from those officials.

"The city of Orange is the only city in California that requires registered citizens to post a sign on the front door of their residence," says Janice Bellucci, a Santa Maria attorney and RSOL president, in a statement from the nonprofit. "A similar ordinance in the city of Simi Valley was successfully challenged in federal court last year."

The judge in that case issued a temporary restraining order two days before Halloween last year preventing Simi Valley from enforcing the ordinance on grounds that those required to post signs on their front doors would likely suffer irreparable harm. The case was subsequently settled.

There are about 100 residents in Orange that have been convicted of sex-related crimes--and now have their and their families' constitutional rights jeopardized, according to RSOL.

As for harm to children, Bellucci points to an October 2012 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation report that found the rate of re-offense by a person convicted of a sex-related crime while on parole is only 1.9 percent.

Her group reminds that the "wide range of offenses" that can have one labeled a sex offender include not just the perverted creeper ones that immediately spring to mind but public urination, sexting and possession of pornography.

UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 24, 8:30 A.M.: Orange City Attorney Wayne Winthers has reportedly looked at the judge's ruling in Simi Valley, negotiated with RSOL's Janice Bellucci and decided to recommend the Orange City Council spike the sign requirement in its Halloween ordinance.

The council is expected to take up the issue in closed session next week, reports the Los Angeles Times. State open meeting laws allow pending litigation to be discussed behind closed doors.

"I read the district court's ruling and I don't see any reason why the court would look at ours any differently," Winthers reportedly told the Times. "Our intent wasn't to bring any unnecessary harm or scrutiny to any particular individual. We just wanted to protect children."

UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 25, 12:50 P.M.: Following the advice of the city attorney, the Orange City Council repealed the ordinance requirement that registered sex offenders post signs on their front doors on Halloween as a warning to children.

The 4-0 vote came a week to the day after a lawsuit was filed against the city in federal court by Reform Sex Offenders Laws (RSOL), which argued the city ordinance put those residents who are registered sex offenders at risk of harm.

Mayor Teresa Smith said during the meeting the cost and risk in fighting the suit would be harmful--to taxpayers--and Councilman Fred Whitaker agreed, "It would be a losing battle."

Councilman Mike Alvarez suggested the city instead concentrate on educating the public around Halloween time.

The council did leave three parts of the ordinance intact. Registered sex offenders in Orange cannot decorate their residences on Halloween, must leave all exterior lighting off from 5 p.m. Oct. 31 until midnight and can't answer the door for trick or treaters.

In addition to repealing the sign requirement, the council agreed to: send a letter to all registrants in the city notifying them of the repeal as well as the remaining Halloween restrictions.

Janice Bellucci, a lawyer who as head of RSOL had also filed the suit last year against Simi Valley that ended in her nonprofit's favor, presented a slippery slope argument to justify abolishing such city laws.

"We're concerned that it's Halloween today," she said. "Is it going to be Easter next, where you can't have an Easter egg hunt in your yard with your grandchildren?"

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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49 comments
RodTemple
RodTemple

Here's another moronic criminal regime. They can't be sued enough.

"Leaders" of Orange: Since you are apparently idiots, let me help you out. Why don't you instead simply pass a law that says that children must be supervised by adults on Halloween? You know, personal responsibility and all that. Or do you prefer that people rely on big government to raise their children?

My proposed law covers any and all people who have been convicted of any crime and who MAY hurt a child. It does not further the propaganda agenda of the Sex Offender Witch Hunt though, sorry. Taxpayers still may get a feeling that you are "protecting" them and they need you badly. So you still may get more of their money later.

Jenifar
Jenifar

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Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

@ Jon Mendoza, Apparently so!!!!! Believe me, im just as appaulled AHAHAHAHAHA! Scary!! Thats why i stated my feelings were towords the perverts not the pissing posse.. I dont think OC weeklys comment assumes it as much as we do as a society because we generally think of sex offenders as sick mothafuckers who have done something sexually disgusting

Jon Mendoza
Jon Mendoza

@OC weekly: your comment assumes that all of these sex offenders did something equally perverted, which I'm sure they did not. That's the point I'm trying to make to Janina, and it's a huge problem nowadays, a lot of people see things only in black and white when in reality things aren't that simple.

Jon Mendoza
Jon Mendoza

@Janina: so basically you qualify as a sex offender because of your public urination and deserve a sign posted out front?

Andre Miller
Andre Miller

Javier hopefully your bro is a free thinker

Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

I can careless about the public pissers, its the perverted ones who need their dicks cut off...and its unfortianate that they are put in the same category!!!! Because, even i have drunkenly popped a squat!! But now knowing this, ill let it run down my legs if theres a next, haha ;)

Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

I dont condone vigilantism either, i just dont give a shit if it happens to them :)

Phillip Horwitz
Phillip Horwitz

Why not make murders mark their homes? They seem more dangerous. Why not car thieves? If these sex offenders are so dangerous hold them in prison for 20 more years. If they are released from prison their sentence is and ought to be over.

Andre Miller
Andre Miller

What guy here, including those who work for OC Weekly, has never taking a p*** outside..... If so, you are a sex offender and OC Weekly has no tolerance for you whatsoever

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

We definitely don't endorse vigilantism, but we have no sympathy for sex offenders whatsoever. And if innocents live with them? They're more in danger of the offender than the public...

Gabriel Torres
Gabriel Torres

Please account for the small amount of people who get labeled as sex offenders just bc they took a piss outside slide bar....... imagine getting.g your place vandalised just bc you peed on the street

Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

Why are they living with sick fucks to begin with @ Jon Mendoza. I hope this goes through... Who gives a fuck about their feelings or if their residences get vandalized?? Did they give a fuck when they were being sick disgusting bastards violating and vandalizing innocent people/bodies...put these animals on blast!!!!!

Jon Mendoza
Jon Mendoza

I don't get OC Weekly's comment. I can understand the point raised in the article, because there might be innocent individuals living with a sex offender who might be in danger from vigilantism instigated by these signs. People just need to supervise their kids at Halloween to make sure nothing happens to them.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

You preverts whining about this are amusing. Lucky you weren't in a sane society where you'd have been painfully put to death for your crimes. You think we're just going to let our kids around you now?!? You nuts or something? Don't go around raping people and you won't have this problem. You screwed up, now deal with the consequences. Constitution has nothing to do with this. You'd have been hung in the public square by the founding fathers. Libtards protecting sex offenders doesn't represent the intent of our constitutional rights. 

Boomer
Boomer

Am I to understand that these people have to put a sign on their door advertising their status? What about the other people in the home? What about their kids that live there - how do you think their school day goes on November 1st? Is this sign not supposed to protect kids - all kids?

And this applies to all - going back how many decades? For all the reasons that get you added to this list?

Why do drunk drivers not have to put one of those handy dandy magnetic signs on their vehicle? What about the drug dealers? Murderers? Wife Beaters? Plain old child abusers? All a much more distinct threat to children, especially on Halloween.

I have never heard of such a thing. Read about it in English class in the classics. About scarlet letters and witch hunts and such.

Is this real? In this country? Under this Constitution? In 2013??? Sue away, RSOL!

RodTemple
RodTemple

Here's another moronic criminal regime. They can't be sued enough.

"Leaders" of Orange: Since you are apparently idiots, let me help you out. Why don't you instead simply pass a law that says that children must be supervised by adults on Halloween? You know, personal responsibility and all that. Or do you prefer that people rely on big government to raise their children?

My proposed law covers any and all people who have been convicted of any crime and who MAY hurt a child. It does not further the propaganda agenda of the Sex Offender Witch Hunt though, sorry. Taxpayers still may get a feeling that you are "protecting" them and they need you badly. So you still may get more of their money later.

muhammed
muhammed

Pedophile apologists fuck off

shellystow
shellystow

Fantastic; way to go, CA RSOL. We have a similar situation here in Nederland, Texas, and are also looking at litigation.

RodTemple
RodTemple

@Janina Uhmm And surely few people give a shit what happens to you, disgusting puke.

RodTemple
RodTemple

@Janina Uhmm F you. You are a disgusting puke.

gcbaldur
gcbaldur

@vegandawg23 A very small proportion of "sex offenders" are rapists in the ordinary sense of the word (though some feminists are attempting to broaden the term so that it would include practically all men). What's more, a substantial number were "children" themselves at the time of their "offense".

More to the point, these signs do nothing to protect children, and are likely to endanger children who live in the same home as a registered sex offender.

 As for the Founding Fathers - if you would actually acquaint yourself with the historical record, you might be surprised to find that they were not intolerant prudes and would have likely been amazed that any community could enact such intolerable laws.

rsojoe
rsojoe

@sweetliberty17761776 At least they aren't HOUSE ARREST meaning they can take their kids trick and treating.. There no law against that! 

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

@RodTemple  

Great rebuttal.  

I side with RSOL on this one.  

 

TeeJay
TeeJay

Constitution violators fuck off

RodTemple
RodTemple

@muhammed: Sorry loser, this is the United States. Americans do not appreciate criminal regimes and their terrorist supporters stupidly harassing people simply because they do not like them. F the criminal regimes and the terrorists. If you think this is okay, you are either not an American or you need to try to think a little more deeply about exactly what this is not accomplishing.

spencerj05
spencerj05

@muhammed Congrats on showing off your illiteracy. If you'd read the article (we all know now you didn't) you'd know they make up a small percentage of sex offenders.

nightcapmedia
nightcapmedia

@shellystow Shelly, Janice and CA RSOL already have a federal court judgment (settlement) with regard to Simi Valley, California ordinance. You may wish to contact attorney Janice Bellucci with information to assist with any litigation in Texas. While not in the same jurisdiction, courts have been watching California as of late with regard to sex offender laws, particularly the substantial financial liability of defending such ordinances.

RodTemple
RodTemple

@gcbaldur @vegandawg23: So if "Libtards" are the people "protecting sex offenders", it must be the "conservatives" who are actually the people who create and keep big government? I do fully believe that Republicans love big government.

There are no Americans who support these signs. There are no Americans who think it is okay for one criminal regime after another to continue to pass laws that affect people on their nanny big government lists. "vegandawg23" doesn't fit in the U.S. very well, he would be much more at home in a different third-world country.

Boomer
Boomer

@muhammed @Boomer hardly out of touch here but wondering why you would use an outdated 3rd party parasite web site to make your point. They do not even show the correct number of publicly displayed registrants as per the official web site. 

And at least 16 of those do not have their address published. Plus, there are (typically 30 to 40 percent) more in each city who do not show up on ANY web site. Now what?

These folks have to put up a sign on their door? Because the City Council says so? I think not. Ever heard of the First Amendment? Why has this sort of thing not been challenged before?

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@rsojoe @sweetliberty17761776 



IF THAT WERE TRUE I would say so



I dont vote for leftists of either party


keep paying for all those programs touted as "help"


ahahahha


and stay armed as the Leftists love to let your criminals back out on the streets

muhammed
muhammed

You guys go right ahead and defend sex offenders precious "constitutional rights"  i'll keep erring on the side of protecting children.

RodTemple
RodTemple

@orangedude @muhammed The point is harassment.  The point is also to make stupid, little people feel slightly better about themselves.

RodTemple
RodTemple

@Boomer Yeah, that is the beauty of this. I see few ways that this city is going to avoid paying $$$$$ for their stupidity. Even if they rescinded their law today, they will still be liable.

Boomer
Boomer

@muhammed @TeeJay whats your point, @muhammed - you  have heard of Wikipedia and know how to copy and paste a link? 

Your link states the following: "The ruling would let the states know how far they could go in informing citizens of perpetrators of sex crimes."

The lawsuit alleges the City of Orange went too far. The judge in the Simi Valley suit agreed last October.

Pay up Orange!

muhammed
muhammed

and you probably shouldnt have done whatever it was that put you on the sex offender list. 

RodTemple
RodTemple

@muhammed @RodTemple Uhhhhh, duhhhh, duuuhhhh, duhh, do you have a point?  Duh.   Clearly, you are a genius and I have no trouble seeing why you support this kind of idiocy.

Aside from that, what amazes me is why is it that local legislators so often seem to be clueless rednecks.

faeryedark
faeryedark

@muhammed And which children would that be exactly? Some hypothetical child or the very real children whose loved one is on the public shaming list, and  who gets bullied for it? And whose home is now a target?

I agree with the previous poster. The children  should be supervised by a parent or other responsible adult when out trick or treating...not so much because a "big bad sex offender" could get them but more so for the very real possibility that they could be hit by a car, since that actually does happen a lot

rsojoe
rsojoe

@muhammed  what about the RSO children that are SAFER with their RSO parents?  like that mother who was a teacher and she had sex with a 16 years old students. She a mother so yoru telling us. Her children have to put up with "sex offender lives here" umm

RodTemple
RodTemple

@Boomer @muhammed Well said.

People who support this type of Halloween nonsense are the worst of the worst. They have no business calling themselves Americans.

Boomer
Boomer

@muhammeduhm no, you don't. If your true intent were to protect children you would not have hesitated for one second to support my demand to call out all potential threats to them publicly.

From my post 3 hours ago "Why do drunk drivers not have to put one of those handy dandy magnetic signs on their vehicle? What about the drug dealers? Murderers? Wife Beaters? Plain old child abusers? All a much more distinct threat to children, especially on Halloween."

What you are all about is being morally superior and violating the constitutional rights of a select few that you decide do not deserve them, as all citizens do.

I hate to tell you the world does not work like that, at least not in this country.

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