Missouri: more good “Halloween signs” news
By Janice and Sandy . . . Registrants in Missouri were not required to post a Halloween sign on their home this year, a sign that for all practical purposes identified the property as being residence to someone on Missouri’s sex offender registry. This was due to a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by a federal district court on October 27. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the TRO a few days later on October 30. As a result, registrants and their families as well as their homes were not exposed to significant harm to themselves and damage to their property. The case, brought by ACSOL, is Sanderson v. Bailey.
November 3, 2023, the district court judge in the Missouri case issued an order extending the TRO and consolidating it with the trial date of March 27, 2024. The trial will be a bench trial, with no jury, and it could last up to two days. One of the issues in the case is whether the court should issue a permanent statewide injunction against the use of the signs.
This victory in Missouri was based, in part, upon precedent set in Georgia last year by NARSOL’S case McClendon v. Long, which was decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In that case, the appellate court ruled that the state of Georgia could not require registrants to post Halloween signs on their home because the signs were compelled speech and therefore violated the First Amendment.
The requirement of “No candy” signs at registrants’ homes on Halloween by county or parish sheriffs is an abomination and will be challenged.
Janice is an attorney and executive director of ACSOL.