Just how far the state can go to keep convicted sex offenders from contact with children is at the heart of a State Supreme Court case on a state law that greatly restricts activities on Halloween.
State law requires registered sex offenders to stay in their homes from 5-to-10:30pm on Halloween, turn off outside lights and post a sign stating “no candy or treats at this residence”.
During oral arguments, Supreme Court Judge Laura Denvir Stith questioned the reach of such restrictions.
“If it’s OK to restrict going outside or opening your door to others or keeping the porch light on on Halloween, although we understand why that was chosen, but legally if that’s permissible what’s the difference between that and saying you can never have your light on or you could never leave your home,” Stith asked.
Audrain County Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger understands there is a line to be drawn.
“I believe the legislature has tailored these particular restrictions in a particular way and chosen their words carefully in doing so,” Shellaber responded. “I don’t know where the line is, your honor, but I think this is clearly on the lawful side of it.”
The case, State of Missouri v. Charles A. Aynor, doesn’t really center on the constitutionality of the Halloween restrictions, but on whether they are being applied retrospectively to Charles Raynor, who had to register as a sex offender when he moved to Missouri, because of a 1988 conviction in the state of Washington. Missouri law prohibits retroactive enforcement. The trial court found it retrospective. The Supreme Court will rule later.
Brent Martin reports.