The children of Butts County will have to exercise vigilance on their own this Halloween, thanks to a ruling by a Georgia judge that states the Sheriff cannot put warning signs in the lawns of sex offenders.
Sheriff Gary Long lost his battle with three child sex offenders, who sued on behalf of all Butts County sex offenders after they were subjected to signage in their yard in 2018.
In 2019, however, things have changed- and Federal Judge Mark Treadwell’s ruling reflects that.
“The question the Court must answer is not whether (Butts County Sheriff Gary Long’s) plan is wise or moral, or whether it makes penological sense. Rather, the question is whether Sheriff Long’s plan runs afoul of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It does,” the ruling says.
Treadwell stated that while sex offenders can be logged into a state-wide database, they cannot be subjected to warning signs on Halloween.
“(Sheriff Long) should be aware that the authority for (his) blanket sign posting is dubious at best and even more dubious if posted over the objection of registrants,” the judge wrote.
Taking to Facebook, Sheriff long respectfully disagreed with the ruling, but promised to keep a “very strong” law enforcement presence in the affected neighborhoods.
“Deputies will have candy in their patrol vehicles and will interact with the children until the neighborhood is clear of trick-or-treaters to ensure the safety of our children on Halloween night,” he wrote.
According to CNN, registered sex offenders Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon have been identified as the men who took the matter to court.
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