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Georgia Government Officials Celebrate Halloween By Engaging In Pointless Hassling Of Sex Offenders

from the your-tax-dollars-being-made-stupider dept

Across the state of Georgia (and in other places around the nation), idiots in power are scoring points with the idiots in the electorate by engaging in "for the children" bullshit targeting sex offenders. The Sheriff of Butts County (not a typo) decided to plant signs in the yards of all registered sex offenders, which should ensure only pleasant things happen to parolees following the terms of their release.

As Sheriff, there is nothing more important to me than the safety of your children. This Halloween, my office has placed signs in front of every registered sex offender's house to notify the public that it's a house to avoid. Georgia law forbids registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween, to include decorations on their property. With the Halloween on the square not taking place this year, I fully expect the neighborhoods to be very active with children trick-or-treating. Make sure to avoid houses which are marked with the attached posted signs in front of their residents. I hope you and your children have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. It is an honor and privilege to serve as your sheriff.

(These signs are placed In accordance with Georgia Law O.C.G.A. 42-1-12-i(5) which states the Sheriff shall inform the public of the presence of sexual offenders in each community)

Sheriff Gary Long isn't making anyone safer by doing this, no matter what his self-congratulatory post says. The law he cites doesn't require the placement of signs in sex offenders' yards. If it did, these signs would already be in place and there'd be no reason for Sheriff Long to brag about his pointless waste of time on Facebook.

The state already has a law in place banning sex offenders from decorating their houses, handing out candy to children, or even turning their outside lights on. All of that should be enough to deter trick-or-treaters from visiting sex offenders' residences. The planting of signs is an unjustified additional punishment handed down for specious reasons that provides an opportunity for everyone who agrees with Long's self-serving idiocy to hurl invective, garbage, or whatever else in on hand in the general direction of property bearing these signs.

This won't make the kids safer. A 2009 study showed no spike in sex offender activity around Halloween.

States, municipalities, and parole departments have adopted policies banning known sex offenders from Halloween activities, based on the worry that there is unusual risk on these days. The existence of this risk has not been empirically established. National Incident-Base Reporting System crime report data from 1997 through 2005 were used to examine daily population adjusted rates from 67,045 nonfamilial sex crimes against children aged 12 years and less. Halloween rates were compared with expectations based on time, seasonality, and weekday periodicity. Rates did not differ from expectation, no increased rate on or just before Halloween was found, and Halloween incidents did not evidence unusual case characteristics. Findings were invariant across years, both prior to and after these policies became popular. These findings raise questions about the wisdom of diverting law enforcement resources to attend to a problem that does not appear to exist.

Law enforcement resources are better used ensuring children are safe by patrolling neighborhoods and increasing law enforcement presence in heavily-trafficked areas. Children are hundreds of times more likely to be hit by cars than snagged by a sex offender on Halloween (and, indeed, any day of the year). Additional officers deployed to neighborhoods might also deter something that actually happens far more often on Halloween than other holidays.

According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. And as for keeping the general pubic safe, vandalism spikes by 24% on Halloween, making it the night with the most vandalism of the year.

Even more absurd than Sheriff Long's plan is Grovetown, Georgia Mayor Gary E. Jones' idea. He just going to lock the "problem" up for the night.

Paroled sex offenders won’t have the chance to encounter trick-or-treaters in Grovetown, Ga., this Halloween.

That’s because Mayor Gary E. Jones plans to round them up. Jones this week revealed his plan to keep 25 to 30 local paroled sex offenders under the watchful eyes of five law enforcement officers at city hall for three hours next Wednesday as kids go door to door for candy.

Technically, this may be legal under the state's expansive sex offender laws. It doesn't sound all that Constitutional, which may result in a courtroom challenge in the near future. Mayor Jones has a perfectly good reason to do this, though: a long history of zero incidents on Halloween in his town. Jones claims this is being done "across the state," but WQAD reports "no other surrounding counties" are engaging in this technically-legal roundup.

If Jones was really concerned about safety and crime during Halloween, he would have his law enforcement out on the streets, rather than sitting guard at City Hall. And if criminals who've already paid their debt to society can be locked up for nebulous reasons, why isn't Jones tossing everyone ever picked up on vandalism charges into the ad hoc lockup for the night? It seems like they might pose more of a safety issue than the sex offenders Mayor Jones believes -- without a shred of evidence -- would kidnap trick-or-treaters if not otherwise detained.

And all of this doesn't even get to the problems of the sex offender registry itself and the fact it contains people who did nothing more than have sex with a 17-year-old when they were 20 or engaged in sexting with another teen. Or the fact that kids are far more likely to be abused by someone they know and trust, rather than some stranger offering Halloween candy on Halloween. All of this is willfully ignored by law-and-order types like Sheriff Long and Mayor Jones to score points with constituents who are equally as oblivious. It's just another form of security theater -- one that has a lot to say about safety, but actually does nothing to make anyone safer.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:57am

    Appropriate place of work

    There's just something fitting about the sherrif of Butts County being such a public ass.

    Rather than do something productive but that wouldn't allow him to brag, he instead goes out of his way to waste time ensuring that just because someone's out of jail doesn't mean the punishment stops, because clearly that's the best way for someone to integrate back into society and become a product member of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:29am

    LOL.

    Tim, and three other people on this site, are objecting to what the rest of the population would see as a good thing.

    Welcome to mob mentality. Now, little article, go sit yourself in a corner because no one's going to give a shit about your message of wrong doing.

    PS: I agree with you Tim, but you can't fix fucking stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      I agree. [People who had sex with fifteen-year-olds when they were seventeen] (https://www.schr.org/action/resources/woman_who_had_consensual_sex_as_a_teenager_no_longer_required _to_register_as_a_sex_) most be prevented from having contact with trick-or-treaters at all costs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Killercool (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re:

        Let's not forget that mooning someone as a kid gets you branded with indecent exposure for your whole life.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hell, in Georgia, you can even be put on the sex offender registry for a non-sex offense:

          https://www.wired.com/2010/03/sex-offender-databases/

          Georgia's Supreme Court is upholding the government's right to put non-sex offenders on the state's sex-offender registry, highlighting a little-noticed (but growing) nationwide practice.

          Atlanta criminal defense attorney Ann Marie Fitz estimated that perhaps thousands of convicts convicted of non-sexual crimes have been placed in sex-offender databases. Fitz represents a convict who was charged with false imprisonment when he was 18 for briefly detaining a 17-year-old girl during a soured drug deal. He unsuccessfully challenged his mandatory, lifelong sex-offender listing to the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled against him Monday.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rekrul, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So people can be put on the registry for falsely imprisoning a minor? Does that mean that parents who mistakenly ground their child for something they didn't do, are sex offenders?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So people can be put on the registry for falsely imprisoning a minor? Does that mean that parents who mistakenly ground their child for something they didn't do, are sex offenders?

              No, it means they are guilty of violating society's norms in such a way that some of that society believe they should be punished indefinitely for their actions. It also means that society has decided that habeas corpus is irrelevant in the modern age, as is any attempt at criminal reform.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ShadowNinja (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:44am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, the sex offender list is essentially just a public shaming list that serves no point but to scare people.

        If sex offenders are really so dangerous to our communities that we need to keep them on lists, them maybe we should just give life sentences to them if they're really that heinous so that we don't have to worry about how dangerous our neighbors might be.

        Letting actually dangerous sex offenders free and putting a ton of restrictions on them & the non-dangerous people on the list that make it super difficult to live a normal live (such as bans on 'social media sites' which the SCOTUS struck down a few years ago for being too vague) doesn't help anyone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 9:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          don't have to worry about how dangerous our neighbors might be.

          Dangerous in a sexual way. Had someone simply murdered a child, they could return to a normal life some decades later, and nobody will tell the neighbors.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 10:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You put a knife in the kid?! Well that's fairly normal. A penis however is just unredeemable." -Christians... probably.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Throughout the ages the ruling classes have had these witch hunts. Its sadistic not that sexual contact with children shouldn't be punishable by death, there is something sickening about the lengths these officials go to continue to punish these people.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, society in general has it's priorities completely shot when it comes to sexual content, especially compared to other stuff.

            Graphic violence on tv? Eh, no biggie.

            Flash of a nipple on tv? Shit-storm of epic proportions.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:57am

      Re:

      Whenever I see comments like this these days I just can't take it seriously.

      It reads like I read this off of a right wing nut site, right wing nuts are typically religious, religious leaders do a lot to children but right wing nuts will continue to defend those religious leaders tooth and nail. Gaslight, hand wave, anything and everything.

      You don't care about sensible policies, you don't even actually care about pedophiles, you just have some insane Christian fetish to punish people that aren't you and you don't identify with. Which is why you would defend family, friends, religious and political leaders for doing what you seem to abhor but turn on a dime to condemn and try to punish harder and faster for anyone you can identify as a stranger.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re:

        Umm, you do realize that many of those people who claim to be Christian really aren't, don't you?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, but if you can demonize an entire group of people and blame the benign ones for failing to police the worst in their community, why wouldn't you? What drawback could you suffer? Hell, their doctrine literally asks them to die for the sake of others. Punish them all for the sins of the few! What are the peaceful ones going to do, fight back? Peshaw!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 4:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, if you shove money into the church every Sunday and celebrate all the holidays you are Christian.

          You can't ignore this non significant number of people 'practicing' Christianity and financially supporting it.

          I assume a real Christian doesn't go to church... which would be rather true. Churches have no place in Jesus's teachings.

          But they clearly aren't in any significant majority nor in any place to hold people accountable.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 3:08pm

            It's not our place to hold people accountable…

            …so those who do are obviously serving "the God of this world."

            Yeah. ‌ Guess who that‌ ‌ is, according to scripture.

            Hint: ‌ He's also identified as "The Accuser." ‌ ‌ ; ]

            [ And though Jesus didn't personally build churches, the apostles and Paul did, in fact, start many; and it was explicitly laid out in scripture that we go there, do that, how they are to be run and by who. ‌ We still follow that simple plan, which doesn't look much like Corporate Churchland; and our numbers are still as few as ever. ]

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  • identicon
    Bruce C., 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:38am

    A bit of devil's advocacy here, at least for the signage...many states have laws prohibiting offenders from even speaking with children. If a child comes up to an offenders door, there are a couple of undesirable outcomes:
    a) offender actually opens the door and violates parole.
    b) offender doesn't answer the door and "child" vandalizes their property.

    The signs might, maybe, help to reduce the first case. I suspect the vandalism would probably be a wash with people encouraged to damage the property of an "animal".

    With a little more thought, this could have been a useful service. Change from a "WARNING" to a "NOTICE", remove the "community safety" blurb, and have the signs available for pick-up by any citizen who doesn't want to participate in trick or treating, not just the offenders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:34am

      Re:

      If a child comes up to an offenders door, there are a couple of undesirable outcomes:

      a) offender actually opens the door and violates parole.

      b) offender doesn't answer the door and "child" vandalizes their property.

      How about:

      c) child knocks on door and yells "police officer (etc)" and offender either opens door and violates parole or risks having door busted down ...

      (Door peepholes are of little help, as children may be below the viewing range, while cops who knock on doors generally stand off to the side of the door while they wait.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re:

        I have seen on that Cops show, officers covering the peep hole while they knock on door before busting it down and tossing flash bangs ....

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  • identicon
    David, 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:52am

    "Butts County"?

    Is that the Butts of the jokes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    renato (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:57am

    It would be a shame if some teen vandals moved those signs to the house of someone they have, and then casually warn the police of the violation.

    By the way, how many sex offender live in that county with less than 25.000 people? Just an imaginary one?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:09am

      Re:

      By the way, how many sex offender live in that county with less than 25.000 people? Just an imaginary one?

      Registered sex offenders. Not actual ones. Let's say you used a phone camera (which are pushed at children in kindergarten age already these times) in connection with your adolescence's consensual doctor games. That can easily net you a sex offender registration.

      Or you were 17 with a girlfriend aged 15 and you turned 18 before she turned 16 (something like that, I forgot the details) without breaking off with her.

      Or somebody suggested you did anything like that and you did not have the money to defend yourself in court (and pay bail and whatever else) and had to accept a plea deal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wolfie0827 (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re:

        Also, a number of LEO organizations got slapped on the wrist for setting people up to be busted under the laws, yet none of the ones that were tricked into it were removed from the sex offender lists. We are talking the "Under-aged person" starting the sex talk through chat/text. then when the person who was setup responded in anyway including telling the "under-aged person" no, they were arrested and most took plea deals to keep from losing everything.

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      • identicon
        Rekrul, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Let's say you used a phone camera (which are pushed at children in kindergarten age already these times) in connection with your adolescence's consensual doctor games. That can easily net you a sex offender registration.

        Or you filmed your daughter acting out a fully clothed scene from a movie that someone deems too sexy. Years ago it was decided that child pornography didn't have to include nudity or sex to qualify.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:12pm

      Re:

      These signs are inviting a plethora of mischief from the kids they are supposedlly attempting to protect. Agitated and more progressively naughty teens have a target now to vandalize and harrass or worse. Kids could move the signs to properties of completely innocent home owners and this could just spiral out of control. But its completely logical that some of the less than wise public servants could get caught up in this overzealous act not thinking it all the way through to possible backlash.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:17am

    protecting the children

    The US state of Georgia, with it's "protect the children" laws, was also the driving force in Bowers v. Hardwick, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision from 1986 in which the court basically held that criminalizing homosexualty was not unconstitutional.

    State Sex Offender laws sprang up just after the last of the anti-sodomy laws were dying off, but it would have been interesting if the two had coexisted, and convicted homosexuals would have had to have signs posted in their yards, or maybe even being required to wear some sort of identifying mark in public.

    Though it wouldn't require much thought to figure out how that situation probably would have played out in rural Georgia back then (or probably even today, despite the recent trend of "intersectionality").

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:52am

      Re: protecting the children

      Scarlet Letter comes to mind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re: protecting the children

        Then there were also those little yellow star-shaped badges with the word "Jude" across the middle, apparently a popular unisex fashion accessory for a short time eight decades ago in a country run by a graphic artist.

        And once again, in the name of "protecting the children" since these people were known to occasionally kidnap young Christian children and drink their blood ... or something like that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    c, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:20am

    Nobody is going to assault your kid on halloween

    I think the most important thing for people to understand about sex offense crimes, is exactly how they occur and who commits these crimes. The harsh reality of the matter is that your child is much more likely to be abused by a member of your own family than any person on the sex offender registry. Well over 90% of all sex offense crimes happen at the hands of someone known and trusted to the victim. Think about it, these are the people who actually have significant amounts of time around your kids. Sex crimes are committed by those closest to you.

    Cases like these signs and other draconian and far reaching sex offender laws are really about pandering to fearful people. It's the easiest political score to say you're being tough on perverts. In actuality, authorities are often doing basically nothing at all. There hasn't been much in the way of legitimate studies to prove that common sex offender penalties do anything at all to reduce recidivism or assault rates at all. If we don't know if these kinds of tactics are effective, why do them at all? There's no point. But it makes people who don't want to think very hard feel better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:34am

      Re: Nobody is going to assault your kid on halloween

      I think the most important thing for people to understand about sex offense crimes, is exactly how they occur and who commits these crimes. The harsh reality of the matter is that your child is much more likely to be abused by a member of your own family than any person on the sex offender registry.

      Well, isn't that the point? It's such a hassle raising your own family that you deserve first pick rather than have some stranger joyriding them. There's a reason for the number of sex offenders getting registered while still underage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:14am

    Much ado about ... nothing...

    Simple campaigning move by the Sheriff. He'll claim he protected the chillllldren next time he's up.

    State law already forbids RSO's from participating in Halloween at their homes. The signs mean and do nothing other than give the Sheriff "points" come election season.

    The disturbing part is the way the Mayor's "lock 'em up" idea is misrepresented in the article.

    He's NOT trying to lock up RSO's, but *PAROLEES* convicted of sex crimes.

    People on parole don't have much in the way of Rights. They're voluntarily forfeited as a condition of Parole. Cops can sweep them up and hold them on a whim.

    There's zero Constitutional question on any of this. Much like there's zero tech involved....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:56am

      Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

      Little Joey had to pee, mother scolded him last time he wet his pants.

      Patrolman Biff sees little Joey peeing on a bush in the park ... little Joey is now on a list and thank god we are all protected from that little shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

        I'd suggest you look into just how infrequently that has happened over the last quarter century or so, but I doubt you'll bother.

        Getting put on an RSO list is a big deal. Lawyers plea bargain people into higher sentences to get around it. A stupid "public indecency" incident CAN be pushed to a child offense, but they're rarely upheld.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

          It only takes one.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

          > I'd suggest you look into just how infrequently that has happened over the last quarter century or so, but I doubt you'll bother.

          I suggest you do the same, my little apologist friend.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Gini Aland, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

        And the mother of "Little Joey" gets in trouble for child abuse because she punished "Little Joey" for wetting his pants or she gets punished for not taking him to a restroom, even when no restroom is available. I have heard of parents punished for taking a child into "the wrong restroom", i.e. daddy takes Little Susie into the mens room or mommy takes Little Joey into the ladies room. They can't leave the child out alone so they have no choice when the other parent is absent. This country has gone to hell!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

          Not only that but parents have been scrutinized by do-gooderz because they let their children play outside .. unsupervised!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dustin, 1 Nov 2018 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Much ado about ... nothing...

      Not exactly. Originally, the Grovetown mayor wanted to round up ALL registrants. It was only after he got a lot of blowback that he "corrected" himself to only refer to those on parole or probation.

      Sheriff Long, on the other hand, didn't distinguish those on paper and those whose sentences were completed. In fact, his sign idea was probably because he knew he couldn't legally do anything about the latter. Contrary to the article and the Sheriff's claim, there is no state law regarding registrants on Halloween; it's merely a parole/probation rule and doesn't apply to those who have completed their sentences.

      Long and his deputies were basically trespassing and vandalizing. They had no cause to enter those properties and leave anything there. I hope those registrants press criminal charges and sue them in civil court. Also hope the Sheriff's next opponent in reelection can highlight Long's ignorance of and/or disregard for the law for nothing other than political purposes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:26am

    Sure is great that Techdirt has turned into a blog about Tim Cushing’s chronic issues with authority figures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      That's only because Mike Masnick has gone into semi-retirement these days, but if he were still writing full-time and cranking out numerous articles every day, you'd probably find some way to complain about that too ;)

      But I'd put Tim Cushing up there with Radley Balko as a writer who really cares about the things he writes about, as both took a special interest in the topic of police injustice long before it became "cool."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      We should all have “issues” with authority figures. Accepting their authority with no questions asked is basically kissing their ass and thanking them for the privilege.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 9:06am

        Re: Re:

        So Tim should have asked questions, found out there's nothing in this piece even questionable, much less illegal (or tech related), not slid in the conflation of RSO and Parolee, or even brought up the Mayor (who had nothing to do with the story) at all, and STILL published this non-story?

        Hey, a cop or politician does something questionable, I'm all for questioning it. But I if I find out it's NOT questionable, I don't make a big deal of it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nothing to see here .. move along.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 2:54pm

          So

          Do not shove words in my mouth that did not first come from it. With that said…

          So Tim should have asked questions, found out there's nothing in this piece even questionable, much less illegal (or tech related), not slid in the conflation of RSO and Parolee, or even brought up the Mayor (who had nothing to do with the story) at all, and STILL published this non-story?

          Yes. If you dislike an article you see on this site, you can either ignore the article itself or you can stop visiting the site altogether. You have precisely zero authority to make editorial decisions for blogs you do not operate/websites you do not personally own—and that includes Techdirt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      I find a lack of critical thinking to be a sign of laziness and possible drug abuse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:40am

    Georgia law forbids registered sex offenders from participating in Halloween, to include decorations on their property.

    Finally! An easy way to spot sex offenders (at least in Georgia). Just look for the houses without decorations, and there you go! If by some off-chance you're not some kind of sex offender creep (probable pedo) and you haven't yet decorated, you better do so immediately to let people know you're knot! Maybe even put a sign in your yard reading "I am NOT a sex offender!" (Hmm, I wonder if there might be a market for such signs)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:31am

    "The Sheriff of Butts County (not a typo) decided to plant signs in the yards of all registered sex offenders"

    Based upon law enforcement's track record of being able to identify and locate proper addresses, I do not think this is a good idea.

    Imagine a fine upstanding non-sex-offender family being subjected to the self righteous indignation of neighbors who having seen said misplaced sign now think all sorts of silly things. This will end up in court no doubt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 9:10am

    Debt to society

    And if criminals who've already paid their debt to society can be locked up for nebulous reasons, why isn't Jones tossing everyone ever picked up on vandalism charges into the ad hoc lockup for the night?

    This actually hits on the exact, core problem: the very concept of "paying one's debt to society", with its associated implication that once the debt is paid normal life can resume, is fading into unpopularity nowadays.

    It's being replaced with the idea that "once you have done X, you are tarnished forever, and can never redeem yourself", where X can be any of an increasing number of things - sex offenses (an extremely broad category, and worthy of a rant all its own) being just one subset of them, albeit the one that carries perhaps the most severe tarnish.

    Look at the "convicted felons lose their right to vote, and can rarely if ever regain it" angle, or at "convicted felons lose their right to bear arms" (similarly), just for two additional examples.

    (I think I want to say more here, but I'm running out of time to get ready for work, so at least for the moment I'll leave it at that.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:47pm

      Re: Debt to society

      excellent and detailed article with many references and links to other studies.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820068/

      In a nut shell it has to do with mental illness which drives some to offend again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 1:46am

      Re: Debt to society

      Look at the "convicted felons lose their right to vote, and can rarely if ever regain it"

      There is at least a historic basis for this. There is a not-so-subtle bias in felonizing misbehavior, and prosecuting felonies, in order to reduce the risk of darker-complected persons voting. In Florida, the 1968 constitution brought this forward into the ``modern'' age.

      The war on drugs and Nixon's southern strategy arise from the same motives. It is not entirely arbitrary to more heavily penalize crack cocaine than powder cocaine. At least perception helps to explain agriculture theft laws, too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 10:57am

    Who are we protecting

    The rights of convicted sex offenders or kids?

    "engaging in "for the children" bullshit "

    WOW, Tim are you in favor of ignoring the offenders who raped children because some of them had sex with a 17 year old or have a sex conviction for something you deem unfair?

    What a sick way to get clicks. IMO anyone trying to lessen the sting of being a child sex offender has plans, get some help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tin-Foil-Hat, 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:11am

      Re: Who are we protecting

      If they pose that much of a threat maybe they should stay in jail.

      Sex offenders are being used for the benefit of grandstanding politicians without the expense of really ensuring they can't commit another crime. It's violating somebody's rights without actually doing anything of value.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re: Who are we protecting

        If the outcome of a grandstanding politicians is that the world gets to see what you can expect to go through as a sex offender I'm for it. YOU are placing kids behind whatever your political bias is, in this case the 'other' party.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

          Collateral damage be damned ... full speed ahead.
          It's your own fault if you get caught up in this juggernaut because peeing in public is absolutely the same thing as rape ... right?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

            Juggernaut? Puhlease. Strawman much? I take responsibility for my actions and have an understanding of what not to do in public. You are reaching on this peeing topic, get faced drunk and whip it out on main street ya you might get charged as a sex offender but the 'little johnny' comparison is ridiculous.

            The weight your argument holds is nothing compared to the point here, trying to stop anything that removes sex offenders from kids to defend adults who did something stupid is a partisan tantrum.

            I emailed a friend at the NOPD to inquire about what people are charged with when caught peeing in public during Mardi Gras. Which from experience is anyone whos not standing in front of a house they have access to. I'll post his response once I have it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

              "Juggernaut? Puhlease"
              - Complaining about word usage rather than addressing the point(s) made, I'm not surprised.


              "You are reaching on this peeing topic"
              - You deny it happens?


              "the 'little johnny' comparison is ridiculous"
              - You deny it happens?


              "The weight your argument"
              - is that the law should not turn public urination into rape ... you know, that sort of thing.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:05pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

                "Juggernaut? Puhlease"
                - Complaining about word usage rather than addressing the point(s) made, I'm not surprised.

                The word you used paints a picture of an unstoppable force of law enforcement and judges labeling outdoor peeing as a sex offense which is 'pahlease' worthy and overdramatic.

                I was not going to ask for numbers on these offenses because your responses will be

                1. Law enforcement is hiding those offenses to lower the numbers
                2. If there is 1 in 1000 sex offenders that was labeled due to something like urinating in public it is 1 to many and all sex offenders need to be treated like that 1.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

                  You want to lock up sex offenders, that's cool - do it, but do not blow smoke up my ass telling me that some drunk who pissed himself is a rapist. You can cram that.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rekrul, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

                  The word you used paints a picture of an unstoppable force of law enforcement and judges labeling outdoor peeing as a sex offense which is 'pahlease' worthy and overdramatic.

                  Several states have laws on the books defining public urination as public indecency and defining public indecency as a sex crime.

                  Also, what about the well publicized practice of charging teenagers who take naked selfies of themselves as sex offenders? Or of charging 18 year olds who have sex with their 17 year old girlfriend/boyfriend as statutory rapists? Or in some states, charging both teenagers as sex offenders under a strict interpretation of the law that says sex with a minor is a crime?

                  Are you trying to say that this stuff isn't happening?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2018 @ 11:42am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who are we protecting

                    The Law is ALWAYS OVERREACHING because so many rely on paid penalties to feed their families. Face it. Convictions are not always just.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:22pm

      Re: Who are we protecting

      WOW, Tim are you in favor of ignoring the offenders who raped children because some of them had sex with a 17 year old or have a sex conviction for something you deem unfair?

      People get put on the sex offender registry for a lot of reasons other than committing a true sex crime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:03am

    Self-Serving Grandstanding

    It reminds me of the pro-life authoritarians that couldn't care less about their state's third-world maternal and infant mortality rates. When you have a baby in Alabama, the death of you and/or your baby is a risk that has increased, not decreased over time. Women are statistically more likely to vote democrat but dead ones can't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:37am

      Re: Self-Serving Grandstanding

      You see folks this is how spin, nice job but you left out some info.

      "When you have a baby in Alabama, the death of you and/or your baby is a risk that has increased, not decreased over time"

      Let me fix that for you

      When you live in a 'pro life' state and are looking to get an abortion your choices of who can perform that abortion are dangerous because of the laws on the books.

      Now that you have endorsed more rights for sex offenders and misinformation about prenatal care in 'pro life' states maybe you can add a plug for euthanasia. I'm feeling lucky now, let's hear your spin on Capitol punishment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: Self-Serving Grandstanding

        "pro-life" == pro-birth

        They do not care about life as evidenced by their policies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Tin-Foil-Hat, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:22pm

        Re: Re: Self-Serving Grandstanding

        No. When you have a baby in Alabama (or Mississippi for that matter) your chance of dying in childbirth are third world high. The US has the highest infant and maternity mortality rate in the developed world. So much for caring about children or life. The only thing that helps improve the stats is that not all states have the record that Alabama has.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:12am

    So many people here outraged for the benefit of sex offenders.

    What does that say about the site itself?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      Exactly, nothing can be done for good if the 'other' party is doing so they look for anything to argue against it. In this case sex offenders are being 'Targeted'and they are being oppressed. And this attitude comes from part of the sex offender population that committed an act that the author thinks is unfair while ignoring the offenders that raped children and adults.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Why is it you refuse to acknowledge that fact that the sex offender list contains people who do not belong on said list? Perhaps it is because you do not understand what the criteria is for being put upon said list. Yourself and others seem to think the list only contains the names of those who have committed some sort of rape and/or sexual assault, this is not the case. Many who point out this and other problems with this law and other laws do so because they care about their communities and society in general rather than the silly unsubstantiated accusations that you are tossing around. Some people would like to improve the laws to make them more effective, but you seem to not want to do that - why?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What article did you read? Because I'm responding to the one that was specifically about children and Halloween. I'm not denying that there are people who are labeled as sex offenders for minor offenses. Do I think the laws regarding that need to be changed or the offenses being looked at in more detail before any labeling occurs? Yes absolutely. But the kids get priority you can b**** and complain about the grandstanding and the pr but at the end of the day this is still an effective way of keeping sex offenders away from children. Everyone gets it you want these people who were labeled as sex offenders for minor offenses to be cleared of that and the laws to be changed but in this context supporting the other side does nothing for your cause and makes you look like a sex offender Advocate no matter what their crime was.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You say you care and then hand wave it away.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What are you going on about?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh because I think there needs to be change? Sure, but sometimes in life you have to make hard decisions, without breaking whatever law they broke they wouldn't be labeled as a sex offender. They made that decision and now they are caught up with rapists and child molesters. Sucks and wrong but kids come first period. We can agree to disagree about this poster on sex offenders doors being an effective tool but I am going to put kids before someone who broke the law who was mislabeled as a sex offender. Keep up the good fight getting the laws changed but don't pee outdoors if you can help it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      That it has more than a few people who are able to see past the 'sex offender' label to see grandstanding sherrifs and mayors as doing nothing to actually protect kids in a cheap PR stunt, no matter who it's targeted.

      You might as well ask why, in articles where detestable people(James Woods comes to mind) are mentioned people are sticking up for their rights under the law. Because even if they are detestable people twisting the knife and/or abusing the law to go after them is still something to object to, for you own sake if nothing else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        CakeDat (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 3:09pm

        Re: Re:

        If this was a PR stunt tell me who are these politicians and Sheriff's catering to? There's got to be some group of people but they are targeting by doing this in order to get their support, am I not right? So who is that?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 1:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Gullible fools who see the words 'sex offender' and immediately jump to 'kiddy diddler', are willing to ignore public shaming of anyone on the list as though everyone on it falls under the 'child molester' label, and praising anyone who sticks it to someone on the list so long as they claim to be doing it 'for the children'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 1:03pm

    "Get caught peeping in the girl's shower and you're labled for life."

    Trapper John
    MASH

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Nov 2018 @ 4:52pm

    "These findings raise questions about the wisdom of diverting law enforcement resources to attend to a problem that does not appear to exist."

    The wisdom is I'm gonna get reelected with my tough on crime policies.

    Everyone hates sex offenders so no one cares about if the signs or rounding them up will cause them problems. Some of them might have peed in an alley once, but we slapped on a label so we can treat them as subhuman & not think about it. So what if making their lives tougher only serves to increase the chances they will end up breaking the law to survive b/c we won't let them ever forget their crime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:24pm

      Re:

      "These findings raise questions about the wisdom of diverting law enforcement resources to attend to a problem that does not appear to exist."

      LOL - This sounds very similar to the sending of combat troops to the border to help support the border patrol who is facing a horde of women and children a thousand miles away.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 5:44pm

    If the sign was in my yard, I'd toss it. Private Property!!! This PIG is just that. Clearly, they're stealing too much taxpayer money to be able to afford to make a bunch of signs and go around posting them.

    So they have extra money and all the crime I guess has been solved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 1 Nov 2018 @ 6:49pm

    Having just given out candy last night, where I decorated my enclosed front porch and had the kids come in past the skeletons to get their candy, I can't see even a desperate child molester being able to do anything to trick or treaters. Young kids were always accompanied by their parents who watched over them and would often come in with them. Older kids, if not accompanied by adults, usually traveled in groups. I didn't see one kid that was alone. Even if a person was the most vile rapist on the planet, how would they expect to be able to get away with anything with the kids coming to their door?

    I mean, are they going to grab a kid and drag them inside? Seems like their parents or their friends would notice. Not to mention that doing it out of their home wouldn't exactly provide the best cover for their activities. If they're that depraved they'd most likely go out on the streets and look for a child to grab.

    Trick or treating is usually a well supervised activity. It's not really conducive to child molesters looking to abuse kids who come to their door.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2018 @ 7:37pm

    Don't be fooled. Governments do plenty to harm your children. The fluoridation of municiple water supplies is poisoning and dumbing down the IQs of kids. Untime proven vaccinations pose substantial threats to children.

    This 'for the children' is no more than a political rally cry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:16am

      Re: anti-vax

      "The fluoridation of municiple water supplies is poisoning and dumbing down the IQs of kids."

      "Untime proven vaccinations pose substantial threats to children."


      Any data you have access that supports your claims would be of interest to myself and a bunch of scientists and medical personal. Hiding this data is putting children at risk, I eagerly await your post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2018 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re: anti-vax

        Do what I did. Look it up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2018 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: anti-vax

          Once you start billing patients, that doesn't put an end to your need to continue research..

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2018 @ 1:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: anti-vax

            Why are you apparently replying to yourself?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2018 @ 4:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: anti-vax

              Not replying to myself. For your benefit. While you are bussy researching those two, look up spraying barium and aluminum oxides in the atmosphere around the globe. HAARP and its owners have been wreaking havoc superheating the ionosphere and setting off earthquakes and volcanos as well as flooding millions of people with the catostrophic storms they are creating. Then you may also be interested in the genocide makers of statin drugs (poison) is causing being prescribed to millions..

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 4 Nov 2018 @ 2:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: anti-vax

          Hitchen's Razor: That which has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

          Or put another way, the one who makes the claim has the burden of providing evidence for it, and attempts to shift the burden of doing so should be seen as evidence that the claim is baseless.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Will Allen, 2 Nov 2018 @ 5:53am

    Nanny Big Government Lies

    Most people listed on Georgia's $EX Offender Registry are not on probation or parole. They have no restrictions at all regarding Halloween or children. None.

    These criminal regimes might get away with putting signs on government property but if they put any on private property, the people who own it should destroy the sign and sue them.

    These criminal regimes love to brag how they are "monitoring" Registered People (RPs). That is completely false. It is trivial for any RP to do whatever they like. The fact that the criminal regimes TRY to visit their homes occasionally does nothing at all. Nothing. Except perhaps make the RPs want to retaliate and/or harm people.

    I know for a fact that many, many RPs leave their homes on Halloween and go wherever they like, completely anonymously. This is all nothing but Nanny Big Government lying to everyone. Quite typical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:18am

      Re: Nanny Big Government Lies

      Would it be ok to remove said sign and put it in the front yard of say a church or police station?

      Would this be ok?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Will Allen, 2 Nov 2018 @ 9:27am

    Re: Nanny Big Government Lies

    I think it is illegal for the sheriff to go onto private property period. The only exception to that is if the sheriff is doing exactly what any other member of the regular public could also do - and that is simply and only going to the front, "public access" door of the home and knocking. Other than that, they have no legal authority. So it is illegal for the sheriff to put any signs on private property. I think if signs were placed like that, they could be removed immediately.

    However, a minority of the people who are listed on Georgia's Registry are on probation or parole. For those people only, I do expect that the probation/parole office could tell them that they must allow the sheriff to put such a sign on their property. The sheriff would not have any authority of their own to do it. If a person refused, I expect they could have probation/parole problems. But they can always tell the sheriff to F off.

    The other alternative is if it is legal or not for the sheriff to put signs on government property. I know the Georgia DOT says that signs along roads are generally not legal and they WILL remove them. So are the sheriff's signs exempt? How? By what law? The sheriff says that he has authority for the signs from O.C.G.A. 42-1-12 (i)(5), which says in its entirety: "[The sheriff's office in each county shall:] Inform the public of the presence of sexual offenders in each community;". These signs are not doing that, they say nothing about "sexual offenders".

    So I'm not sure. May a sheriff just put up any signs that they like anywhere on government property just so long as they say it is for "public safety". No idea. I'd say more that these signs are election campaign signs and they are illegal, but that's just me.

    Regardless of all that, I don't think anyone should think it is okay to pick up a government sign from anywhere (other than your own private property). I can't see how that would ever be legal. And it would surely not be legal to put such a sign on someone else's property.

    What I think would be much more fun would be if a person who was targeted by such a sign put up their own, much, much larger sign that said, "Butts County Sheriff Gary Long is much more likely to molest children than the occupant of this house is." That is likely a true statement for just about anyone so there would be no concern for liable.

    Or a person who is not on probation or parole could put up a huge sign that said, "Please trick-or-treat here. We have great treats. No big government lovers allowed. F*ck Gary Long."

    Another fun thing to do would be to build some gallows in your front yard and hang a bunch of effigies there. You could put the sheriff there of course, along with a sign on him that says "Traitor", "Douche Bag", or "Un-American". A person could have all sorts of fun with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2018 @ 1:31pm

      Re: Re: Nanny Big Government Lies

      "I think it is illegal for the sheriff to go onto private property period."

      Apparently they can do whatever the hell they want and lie their way out of it later.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Karl Knutson, 4 Nov 2018 @ 1:29am

    Protection of citizens

    If he was really interested in protecting citizens he would just get a keg and a couple of pizzas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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