New law makes sex offenders hunker down for Halloween

Post-Halloween Update: Christian County arrests 18 sex offenders for not following Halloween law. Eighteen arrests. It’ll be interesting to see if the prosecutor charges these sex offenders and to see whether anybody challenges the law in these cases.

Update: Judge’s ruling complicates enforcement of new Halloween sex offender law. Part of the law ruled “ambiguous.” This still doesn’t address the issue of whether the law applies to most registered offenders.

Friday is Halloween and registered sex offenders have their marching orders under a new Missouri law.

Senate Bill 714 requires that registered offenders shall henceforth, on Halloween:

  • avoid all Halloween-related contact with children
  • remain inside their residences between 5 and 10:30 p.m. unless there is just cause to leave
  • post a sign stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”, and
  • leave all outside residential lighting off during the evening hours.

There is already a lawsuit filed challenging the law:Cape Girardeau County prosecutor responds to sex offenders’ suit over Halloween activities.

Since we haven’t yet seen a Halloween under this law, no one has yet been charged and no one knows if the federal courts will interfere.

One thing that will eventually be raised is that, when this law went into effect, it could not be enforced against anyone. This is because the Missouri Constitution prohibits what is called a “retrospective law.”  A retrospective law is one which creates a new obligation with respect to things that were done in the past. The State cannot impose a new duty on a person whose offense occurred before the duty was imposed. Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833 (Mo., 2006).

The new Halloween law went into effect on June 30, 2008. This would seem to make the new law unconstitutional because it claims to apply to all registered sex offenders. Under the Missouri Constitution, the new law should only apply to persons whose sex offenses occurred after that date.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.  As a practical matter, there will always be some prosecutors who will try to enforce this new sex offender law, without regard to its constitutionality. Politicians shovel this stuff out and the public eats it like ice scream.  Later on, the courts get to play the villain when they toss out the bad law.

So unless a sex offender wants to chance getting charged, he will need to hide out this halloween, just like the new law says. Until someone fights it and wins, the law is presumed to be constitutional.


6 thoughts on “New law makes sex offenders hunker down for Halloween

  1. MSLGWCEO says:

    You will all be very happy and relieved to know, that there has NEVER been a Halloweener in the history of the United States that has ever been molested by a registered sex offender.

    Both Halloween and Election Day are coming. So, we’re not at all surprised that politicians across the nation are once again posing as Heroes in the fight against the Great Sex Offender Trick-or-Treat Bogeyman. Under the banner of protecting children, they’re restricting the actions of all sex offenders on Halloween, and sending out hordes of probation officers to make sure they stay in their homes (and, in some states, target themselves by posting “No Candy Here” signs), while expecting sheriff and police officials to monitor sex offender compliance on an already especially busy night.

    blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq…

    It amazes me that it can be proved with government statics that there has NEVER been a case where a REGISTERED sex offender EVER molested a trick or treater at their door. Or harmed them in any way. So what is the problem here.

    Well, politicians are the real scary ones out there. They and the news media for ratings and votes will do and say anything. That’s the bottom line.

    When I grew up, I heard some of my elders tell me not to drink in that fountain because a black man or woman would drink from it. I always asked why could I not drink there? Would I get germs??? Would it make me sick??

    In today’s society, the politician’s have lied to the public about the recidivism rates of sex offenders. Politician’s have lied to the public about “stranger danger” as most offenses occur between a family member or someone the victim knows. These are facts not just spouting’s.

    Parents do need to keep an eye on their children as they always have, but there is no reason to believe that someone is lurking around the corner or behind every bush that is going to take an hurt your child.

    Happy Halloween. Beware of politicians. They are the scariest of them all.

    Only one who is inherently interested in fear mongering would use Halloween to petrify the public into thinking that Halloween is unsafe because of the presence of RSO’s. To calculate risk in epidemiology, you divide the number of cases divided by the population of interest. In this case it would be 1/650,000. The risk is so incredibly low that my calculator gives the division an error!!!!!! ” That is only for 1 year, now times that by say, 50 years. OH MY! Fear mongering is what the entertainment news media and politicians are MORE concerned about than protecting children.

    MSLGWCEO at http://www.cfcoklahoma.org

  2. MSLGWCEO says:

    Rounding up “dangerous” sex offenders? Maybe not…

    The police are “rounding up unregistered sex offenders” and it is all over the local news. The news is making these people all out to be child predators who are just waiting for Halloween to come so they can abduct some little trick-or-treater. This may be the case in some situations but I get the feeling that the potential criminal behavior might be exaggerated, this is from the list of the “100 most wanted” unregistered Colorado sex offenders:
    http://lpcolorado.blogs.com/lpcolorado/2008/10/rounding-up-dangerous-sex-offenders-maybe-not.html

    Christopher Preston Lane born 02/25/1987 Conviction: Sexual assault on a child (1993)

    So this kid was 6 years old when he was convicted of sexual assault?

    Clarence Eugene Howard-Miller born 07/31/1991 Conviction: Sexual battery (2003)

    12 years old when convicted.

    James Sonny Pena born 06/26/1981 Conviction: 3rd degree sex assault (1994)

    13 years old when convicted

    Christopher Bradley Pulver born 09/19/1989 Conviction: Unlawful sexual contact (2003)

    14 years old when convicted

    Nickie N. Rico 12/10/1981 Conviction: 3rd degree sex assault (1994)

    13 years old when convicted

    Timothy Allen Smith born 07/09/1990 Conviction: Sex assault (2002)

    12 years old when convicted

    Christopher Nolden Tillman 05/15/1984 Conviction: 3rd degree sex assault (1998)

    14 years old when convicted

    For the news story:

    http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=102430&catid=339

    http://www.9news.com/news/investigative/top100_failedtoregister/top100lastname.aspx

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/rsorp94pr.htm

    Highlights include the following:

    * Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%),
    burglars (74.0%),
    larcenists (74.6%),
    motor vehicle thieves (78.8%),
    those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%),
    and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).

    * Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape,

    and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
    * The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.
    http://WWW.CFCOKLAHOMA.ORG

  3. Barb Droney says:

    Thank you! I am so offended by the entire sex offender registration issue. It is ‘additional punishment’ for past crimes. And it is “restrictive” and deals with what might happen in the future. I feel that the laws have been written by a legislators that were feeding on fear. They are not useful or desirable. If they don’t toss this out before Halloween I hope that some brave individual makes a civil rights violation case from this. A parole officer has certain authorities but after the sentence has been served that ends.

  4. […] See New law makes sex offenders hunker down for Halloween […]

  5. mercy man says:

    Fear…Fear…Fear…. OHHHH NOOOO.. not more politics… What we need are a dozen or so MORE laws.. How about 4 those that are harvesting little mary jane chocolate treats 4 the halliweeners that ARE NOT SEX OFFENDERS.. Lets remember shall we… You DO NOT have 2 be a sex offender 2 do harm 2 an innocent child of the unsuspecting.. Just as in the event of racism… U DO NOT HAVE WHITE 2 BE A RACIST..

  6. makpeya says:

    Registration laws are a bunch of bull anyway. I was convicted at 16, served my time, and now 20-some years later I still have to be harrassed by individuals who convince themselfs they have the public’s safety in mind. BS. All these people really want are votes….and honestly, all those who know about my offense don’t give a shit. I’m a grown man who has paid my debt to the best of my ability. I work hard, pay my taxes, and treat people like a grown man should. Politicians and their laws to embarrass and harrass me are seen as BS by everyone who knows me. So, in short, stop the madness….it’s retarded.

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