A group of registered sex offenders in Georgia are suing the Butts County Sheriff’s Office for placing “No Trick-or-Treat” signs on their lawns without their consent.
The lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court in Macon — is asking for the court to stop the sheriff’s office from placing signs that read,“NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!! A COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM BUTTS COUNTY SHERIFF GARY LONG,” on their yards, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Deputies either placed the signs on some sex offenders’ lawns or told offenders they would face unspecified consequences if they did not display the signs on their front yards. The practice reportedly began last year.
Long says he plans to fight to keep the signs on sex offenders’ lawns.
“Regardless of the Judge’s ruling this Thursday, I WILL do everything within the letter of the Law to protect the children of this Community,” Long wrote on Facebook.
A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for Thursday morning.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s attorneys argued that forcing the registered sex offenders to leave the signs up infringes upon their First Amendment rights.
The practice is not limited to Butts County. Other county law enforcement agencies in Georgia have carried out similar practices, such as Lamar and Monroe counties.
In Monroe County, if offenders refused to have a sign in their yard, they had to wait in the lobby of the local sheriff’s office during Halloween trick-or-treat hours.