ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — An ordinance in the city of Orange that requires registered sex offenders to post a sign on the front door of their residences for Halloween was facing a legal challenge Friday.
A lawsuit filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court by the group California Reform Sex Offender Laws (CA RSOL) alleges the city ordinance — which subjects any registered sex offender who refuses to comply to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail — violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and places sex offenders as well as anyone living with one at risk for physical and emotional harm.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that “imprisonment for violation of this ordinance would violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which protects citizens from unreasonable seizures,” according to CA RSOL.
“Instead of protecting the residents of the City of Orange, this ordinance harms hundreds of citizens in that City,” CA RSOL board member Frank Lindsay stated.
As many as 100 residents in Orange who have been convicted of sex-related crimes may be affected by the ordinance, according to CA RSOL.
City Attorney Wayne Winthers told the Orange County Register he plans next week to call for the City Council to drop the language in the ordinance that requires registered sex offenders to display a sign reading, “No candy or treats at this residence.”
A similar ordinance in the City of Simi Valley was successfully challenged in federal court last October after U.S. District Court judge ruled that sex offenders who were required to post a sign on their front door “are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent issuance of a temporary restraining order.”
California is only one of four states in the United States that require lifetime registration for those convicted of a sex-related offense.