Several registered sex offenders in Georgia are currently suing their local sheriff’s office to prevent the department from forcing them to post signs on their home to alert potential trick-or-treaters to their registered status.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Macon stating that deputies broke trespassing laws to place the signs without the offender’s permission and that forcing the offenders to leave up the signs are in violation of their First Amendment rights.
The practice of posting the signs began last year an area event was canceled and authorities realized that many families would be going door-to-door.
Authorities sent each offender a correspondence stating that the offender must post a signs with the wording “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!! A COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM BUTTS COUNTY SHERIFF GARY LONG,” or face an unspecified penalty.
Officers also went around to the different homes and posted signs themselves.
Over 200 registered sex offenders were forced to post the signs on their homes, however, only three offenders, Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden, and Corey McClendon are listed on the lawsuit.
In addition to preventing the police department from having them post the signs on their homes, the offenders are also seeking compensation for the stress, fear and humiliation the signs caused last year.
The hearing to decide on whether officers are allowed to place the signs is scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 a.m.