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Simi Valley sex offenders needn't post Halloween signs, judge says

Registered sex offenders in Simi Valley will not have to post signs on their doors to warn away trick-or-treaters after a federal court ruling in a lawsuit on the city's new Halloween ordinance.

Judge Perry Anderson of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles issued a temporary restraining order barring the city from enforcement of the sign provision, which was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Anderson let stand provisions of the ordinance that keep sex offenders from turning on outside lights, decorating their homes, and answering their doors to trick-or-treaters.

The sign provision was a step too far for the judge, who wrote that “the public interest is not served — indeed it is undermined — by enforcement of an unconstitutional law singling out a discrete, outcast group to speak in such a way that their persons, property and loved ones may be endangered.”

The city in September passed its Halloween ordinance, which was challenged on free-speech grounds by five residents who are convicted sex offenders, three of their wives and two of their young children.

They are represented by Janice M. Bellucci, a Santa Maria attorney who has been active around California in trying to curb restrictions on sex offenders who have been released from prison.

The city has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. A hearing is set for Nov. 26.

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-- Steve Chawkins

 
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