Looking to protect young children from convicted sex offenders, a Georgia sheriff had his deputies place signs on the lawns of sexual predators, warning children and parents not to trick-or-treat at the house.
Upset that they were exposed by the sheriff, several of the felons have filed a suit, saying that the signs violated their rights to free speech and privacy.
The names and addresses of local sex offenders are already listed on several internet sites in addition to being posted at the sheriff’s office. It makes no sense that the perverts believe they have a right to privacy when anyone can access their information that’s freely and easily available.
The initiative began in 2018 when Butts County Sheriff Gary Long directed deputies to place “Warning! No Trick-or-Treat at this address!!” signs in the front yards of over 200 sex offenders registered in the county from Oct. 24-Nov. 2. The sheriff’s office plans to use the same tactic again this year, and three registered sex offenders have filed suit.
In a Facebook post, Sheriff Gary Long said he had instituted the signs as a result of the cancellation of a local Halloween festival, “Halloween on the Square,” and the subsequent influx of door-to-door trick-or-treaters. He said they had been following Georgia law and protecting children when they implemented the public warnings.
The lawyer for the sex offenders, Mark Yurachek, told Fox News, “The law allows the sheriff to put a list of registered sex offenders at his office, at the courthouse, on the internet. It does not allow him to go door-to-door telling people you have a sex offender living next door to you.”
That’s a monumental exaggeration, of course. The sign is there for anyone to read. The sheriff isn’t going “door to door” telling people they have a sex offender in their neighborhood.
If that’s what he’s basing his case on, he will lose.
“I’m just not sure that this kind of action makes your kids any safer,” Yurachek said of the initiative. “It just makes your constitutional rights less safe.”
“The trespass stuff is pretty clear. They’re coming onto their property and putting the signs on there,” Yurachek added.
Well, since most of us aren’t deviant sex offenders, our rights are just fine, thanks. As far as “trespass stuff,” the sheriff and his deputies could probably make a pretty good case that this is a public safety issue, in which case courts have granted law enforcement wide latitude to protect the public.
Other counties in Georgia also use the “no trick-or-treat” signs. In Monroe county, if a sex offender didn’t want the sign in his yard, fine. They had to wait in the lobby of the local sheriff’s office during trick-or-treat hours on Halloween.
I don’t see where anyone’s “rights” are being violated, especially a sex offender’s “free speech” right.