Federal Court Decision on Halloween in Georgia

BIG WIN!!! Judge rules in favor of Registrants in GA Halloween Sign case!!!

(October 29, 2019) A Federal Court Judge ruled Butts Count (Georgia) could not force persons required to register as sex offenders to post signs on their property during the Halloween season.

The 25 page Order, issued today, grants the injunction (preventing the Sheriff from posting the signs) with respect to the named plaintiffs, but fell short of granting the same relief for EVERY registrant in Butts, because the court found that not all registrants might object to the signs (yeah right) or there might be some that are actually dangerous. Still, presuming MOST registrants in Butts will let the Sheriff know they object to the sign, this is a huge win.

Below is a link to the order.

Butts County – Halloween Sign

UPDATE February 2020

Renegade GA Sheriff Takes Halloween Sign Case to 11th Circuit Nation’s largest sex offender organizations join to fight Sheriff Long

The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) willjoin forces with the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL)to file an amicus brief in support of an important appellate action related to the placement of Halloween signs in the yards of registered sex offenders in Georgia.

After losing the first round in federal court, Sheriff Gary Longof Butts County, Georgia has made good on his promise to appeal Judge Marc T. Treadwell’s 25-page order granting a preliminary injunction against Sheriff Long and other county officials (See Appeal NO. 19-14730-B).

Last October, Judge Treadwell agreed with the complainants that placing signs on the private property of registered sex offenders violated their constitutional rights. Sheriffs and county officials “should be aware that the authority for their blanket sign posting is dubious at best and even more dubious if posted over the objection of registrants,” wrote Judge Treadwell.

That action was initiated and financed by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL)and filed by Georgia attorneys Mark Yurachek and Mark Begnaud. NARSOL subsequently delivered a warning letter to Sheriff Lee Cone of Ben Hill County who was also erecting signs on the property of registered sexual offenders for Halloween.

Brenda Jones, NARSOL's Executive Director stated, "This case is of paramount importance because Sheriff Long has unilaterally imposed a sign requirement despite the fact that there is no such requirement in the Georgia statutory scheme. If a sheriff can invent his or her own requirements and impose them at will, who knows what constitutional violation is next?”

“If we stand by and turn a blind eye when the Constitution is trampled, none of us are safe," Janice Bellucci, ACSOL's president, added. “If a government official can compel another to speak, the First Amendment is meaningless."

Jones concluded by stating, "NARSOL is confident that Judge Treadwell's decision to grant injunctive relief will be affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit." While this appeal is pending, the underlying case is underway, and both NARSOL and ACSOL are optimistic that the case will be concluded prior to Halloween of this year.

READ THIS COURT DECISION HERE:  https://narsol.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Order-Granting-Injunction-Butts-Co..pdf

People convicted of sexual offences are not second-class citizens, and anyone who thinks otherwise would do well to remember Thomas Paine's wisdom: "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." Dissertation on First-Principles of Government 32 (1795).