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Judge Limits Halloween Limits on Sex Offenders (But Leaves Scarlet Pumpkins Intact):

The NYT reports:

A federal judge in Missouri on Monday temporarily blocked parts of a new state law that requires sexual offenders to remain in their homes on Halloween evening and to avoid any contact with children related to the holiday.

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. . . .

Chief Judge Jackson allowed two provisions in the law to stand, requiring sexual offenders to post a sign stating "no candy or treats at this residence" and to turn off any porch lights.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Judge Limits Halloween Limits on Sex Offenders (But Leaves Scarlet Pumpkins Intact):
  2. Scarlet Pumpkins
Happyshooter:
"Judge Carol E. Jackson overrules the law and allows child sexual predators to stalk the darkened streets halloween night looking for their next victim.

Is your child next?

Call the University of Michigan Law School at 734.764.1358 and ask them why their graduates want your children to be raped."
10.28.2008 10:02am
Sarcastro (www):
Happyshooter would seem to be advocating for results-based jurispridence. I had no idea judicial activism was cool now! I guess this Obama guy might catch on.
10.28.2008 10:14am
JB:
Wouldn't -requiring- them to leave their homes at that hour be better? It'd eliminate the risk of them accepting trick-or-treaters.

I mean, if we're denying people rights even after they've served their time in what's supposed to be rehabilitory confinement, why not be completely sure?
10.28.2008 10:25am
Lighten up Kansas:
I saw chain em' to the mast!

Won't someone please think of the pumpkins?
10.28.2008 10:32am
Ugh (mail):
ex post facto?
10.28.2008 10:38am
RainerK:
Lighten up Kansas,

I'm afraid there is nothing to lighten up about, given that many offenders are not on the registry for crimes against children or the fact that these measures are pure political grandstanding without any real result.
It is frightening how easily people can be manipulated into near hysteria abandoning vital principles of the rule of law making yet another ever broader group of people into unpersons. The enlightened 21st century? Not!
10.28.2008 10:44am
Serendipity:
I know this will sound whacky to some, but seriously, if sex offenders are such vile criminals that they can never be rehabilitated, why are we not institutionalizing them forever? If we aren't ready to that, shouldn't they be treated like any other criminals once they are released? Convicted drug dealers aren't on any registry. I don't want them living next door to me trying to sell my kid pot or cocaine. What's the difference? I'd really like someone to explain this all to me because I simply don't get it.
10.28.2008 10:52am
Whadonna More:
Why should whoremongers be exempt from handing out candy exactly? Because everyone is one wine cooler away from molesting a child once they engage in non-missionary het-sex?
10.28.2008 10:55am
Lighten up Kansas:
Rainer, my sarcasm was intended to be closer to the point about "well, if they are so damaged and messed up, why not keep em in jail/institutions forever and ever?"

What sort of workable life would someone have being on that registry, and yet still be allowed into society to some extent?

Indeed, wouldn't the temptation that their disease would drive them to strike again be very difficult to avoid? I mean, if you don't want someone around kids, keep them in jail.

Just telling them to stay away cannot be all that effective of a measure to prevent them making a mistake that they already were found guilty of once...

And so I agree with you - making them into an Unperson is a very Bad Idea. It would be better to work on a cure, however that is implemented; be it chemical castration, aversion therapy, institutionalization, etc.

If we go the route of results-based jurisprudence, then might as well go the entire route.
10.28.2008 11:02am
Alan Gunn (mail):
Everybody knows this, I suppose, but it bears repeating: the overwhelming majority of sexual offenses against children are committed by relatives (usually the father or stepfather) and they are seldom prosecuted (a local prosecutor once told me it was about five percent). This pumpkin stuff is just grandstanding.
10.28.2008 11:14am
Justin (mail):
Yes, happyshooter, raping little children is ENTIRELY the goal of all graduates of the University of Michigan. Why limit it to just the law school?
10.28.2008 11:32am
The Cabbage (mail):
Yes, happyshooter, raping little children is ENTIRELY the goal of all graduates of the University of Michigan. Why limit it to just the law school?

They say those who molest were likely molested when they were children.

I suppose this means that it is all Appalachian State's fault.
10.28.2008 12:08pm
one of many:
Just when exactly did Halloween become a holiday? I'm a big Halloween fan and all but I've never considered it a holiday.
10.28.2008 12:15pm
A Law Dawg:
Yes, happyshooter, raping little children is ENTIRELY the goal of all graduates of the University of Michigan.


As someone who dislikes the Big 10, I'm glad to see this issue finally getting media attention.
10.28.2008 12:41pm
Mhoram:

I suppose this means that it is all Appalachian State's fault


The Cabbage wins the thread.
10.28.2008 12:43pm
Angus:
And so I agree with you - making them into an Unperson is a very Bad Idea. It would be better to work on a cure, however that is implemented; be it chemical castration, aversion therapy, institutionalization, etc.
I've read studies that psychological support and positive reinforcement can reduce the recidivism rate to below that of most other types of felons. However, politicians don't win elections by "helping" child molesters (even though doing so helps society as a whole). No one want's commercials moade about them that they are "Pro-pedophile." That's why officials punish offenders instead, squeeze them out of society after their release, and then act shocked when, given no reason to change their behavior, offenders re-offend.
10.28.2008 1:43pm
Melancton Smith:
They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven or is he in hell,
That damned elusive Pimpernel?
10.28.2008 3:03pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
Hallow evening has been a holy day ever since it was placed the night before All Saint's [Soul's] Day.
10.28.2008 3:37pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
And All Saint's [Soul's] Day is AKA Dia De Los Muertos [Day of the Dead, a major holiday in Mexico and pockets of southwestern United States.

In our family Dia De Los Muertos is the biggest holy day.
10.28.2008 3:41pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I think this whole thing is stupid, because I haven't seen any proof of sex offenders preying on kids on Halloween night anyway.

But as for the porch light, if a criminal uses a turned off porchlight as an opportunity to hide in the dark and attack someone, the judge is going to be very sorry about ordering that.
10.28.2008 4:29pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Yeah, aren't most sex offenders rapists? And their house can't give out candy at halloween because...?
10.28.2008 5:27pm
AustinRoth (mail):
Um, does this law cover ALL sex offenders, or just those convicted of child-related offenses? If the former, why isn't it overly broad on its face?
10.28.2008 7:07pm
Pendulum (mail):
"There's only one [documented] case in the history of the planet where a child was abducted by a stranger while trick or treating (in Wisconsin in 1973). In that instance, the killer had no prior record and wouldn't have been on any sex offender registry even if it had existed...."
10.28.2008 10:19pm
tsotha:
I find some of the responses to sex offenders more creepy than the crimes. At the very least this should be limited to people who have priors involving children.
10.28.2008 10:33pm
Jane Q. Public:
There are several issues here, and at least one of them has been brought up already: If these people are truly dangerous predators, then they should be in jail. Period. If they are not, people should get off their backs. Period.

Another, related point: there are many kinds of "sex offenders", and the law varies (sometimes quite a lot) from state to state. It is quite possible for someone to be a "sex offender" in one state for doing something that is perfectly legal in some other states. (For example, oral sex between consenting adults is a felony in Idaho.) Further, not all (and perhaps not even most) "sex offenses" involve children at all!! So stop sweating so much over NEARLY nothing.

I can understand the desire people have to protect their children, but society and the law have both gone seriously overboard in this respect. Lighten the hell up and learn to relax.
10.28.2008 11:35pm