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Judge rules sheriff can’t put signs in sex offenders’ yards warning trick-or-treaters

(CNN) — A federal judge has ruled in favor of the three sex offenders who sued a Georgia sheriff after his deputies put signs in the men’s yards last year warning trick-or-treaters not to visit on Halloween.

The three men sued on behalf of all registered sex offenders in Butts County after finding out the sheriff’s office was planning on putting the same signs this year, according to the ruling.

“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.

Georgia displays all registered sex offenders’ names, photos and addresses in a public online directory. But the statute “does not require or authorize sheriffs to post signs in front of sex offenders’ homes,” the ruling states.

Judge Marc Treadwell granted a preliminary injunction for the plaintiffs and ruled that sheriff Long and his employees can’t place the signs during this year’s Halloween season on the three men’s yards — but didn’t broaden the injunction to all sex offenders in the county.

He did however warn the sheriff in continuing this kind of policy.

“(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.

The sheriff’s office began planting the signs in 2018 after the county’s chamber of commerce canceled an annual trick-or-treating event, Long said in a previous social media post. Deputies suspected that the cancellation would drive more kids to go door-to-door for candy.

In the lawsuit filed last month, registered sex offenders Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon claim the sheriff’s office employees trespassed onto their private property when they put the signs and “had no legal authority” to place the signs, causing the men anxiety and humiliation.

All three of the plaintiffs have “paid their debts to society” and now live “productive, law-abiding lives,” the ruling said.

The court’s ruling, the judge said, “in no way limits Sheriff Long’s discretion to act on specific information suggesting a risk to public safety.”

But the sheriff can’t put signs in the plaintiffs’ yards just because their names are on the registry, the ruling says.

The suit named Long, a deputy and three unnamed sheriff’s office employees who helped put up the signs, a complaint said. The sheriff’s office didn’t provide anyone for comment when reached.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Long said he “respectfully and strongly” disagreed with the ruling and that deputies will keep a “very strong presence in the neighborhoods where we know sex offenders are likely to be.”

“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 said.

He was told he’d be arrested if he removed the sign

After putting up the signs in the men’s yards before Halloween 2018, deputies also handed out leaflets which said the signs “shall not be removed by anyone other than the Butts County Sheriff Office,” court documents say.

Holden, one of the plaintiffs, said when he called a deputy after he saw the sign, he was told he’d be arrested if he removed it, according to the ruling.

Other deputies told McClendon that if he took the sign out of his yard “it would be criminal action,”the ruling said.

While the state’s code sayssheriffs should inform the public of the sex offenders in each community, it “does not require or authorize sheriffs to post signs in front of sex offenders’ homes, nor does it require sex offenders themselves to allow such signs,” court documents say.

Georgia is not among the states that have instituted “no-candy laws,” which prohibit sex offenders on parole and probation from handing out candy on the holiday and require them to display signs revealing their status in their yards.

Some states, including New York and California, stop short of “no-candy laws” but require sex offenders to remain in their homes without interaction on Halloween and leave monitoring up to state departments of corrections.

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Source: https://www.cbs46.com/judge-rules-sheriff-cant-put-signs-in-sex-offenders-yards-warning-trick-or-treaters/article_d49a7420-5e78-5850-bedb-9845340c8347.html

Sex offenders win battle against sheriff’s office over trick-or-treat sign

sex-offenders-win-battle-against-sheriff’s-office-over-trick-or-treat-sign

BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — “My promise to the citizens of Butts County is to protect the public, especially the children. This means making families aware if a registered sex offender is living close to them,” said Sheriff Gary Long after a judge ruled against “no trick or treat” signs placed near homes of registered sex offenders.

The signs, which were previously placed on homes ahead of Halloween 2018, were intended to warn parents not to take their children to specific homes where a sex offender resides.

Corey McClendon, Reginald Holden and Christopher Reed filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office to prevent the signs from going up this year.

Reed’s father told CBS46 under no circumstances can anyone place a sign, or do anything for that matter, to his property.

“I paid for the land, I paid for the taxes. So who are they to come and put signs on my property,” he asked. “I think it’s wrong. I think it’s humiliating,” he added.

“The judge in this matter has ruled that I can not put signs on the right-of-way of the three offender that filed the lawsuit,” said Long. “While I respectfully and strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling, I must abide by the ruling,” added Long.

Long also stated he sought legal advice prior to posting the controversial signs out, insuring they were in compliance with Georgia Law O.C.G.A. 42-1-12 (i)(5), which states:

“The Sheriff’s Office in each county shall: Inform the public of the presence of sexual offenders in each community.”

Though the signs are a no-go, Long says he and his deputies will be out in full force to protect trick-or-treaters.

“For this Halloween, our deputies will keep a very strong presence in the neighborhoods where we know sex offenders are likely to be. 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.”

Long also urged the public to not take matters into their own hands. Adding, “we understand frustration with the judge’s ruling, but we all must abide by it unless it is overturned on appeal.”

To view the sex offender registry map, click here.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/news/sex-offenders-win-battle-against-sheriffs-office-over-trick-or-treat-sign/article_b0a66ada-fab4-11e9-9c6d-c38d9a17175b.html

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office receives National Sex Offender Award

gwinnett-county-sheriff’s-office-receives-national-sex-offender-award

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) – A Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office employee has been recognized for excellence in managing the county’s sex offender registry.

Casey Duffield and the sheriff’s office received the award last week during the Major County Sheriffs of America summer conference in Louisville, Ky.

Duffield works as a liaison between the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. She was nominated for her work managing OffenderWatch, a tool used to keep track of registered sex offenders.

Duffield was selected for the award from a pool of 14,000 users in the OffenderWatch network.

“Casey, Sheriff Conway and the entire sheriff’s office go above and beyond what is required in statute to collect comprehensive data on each and every offender in their jurisdiction,” OffenderWatch president Mike Cormaci said in a press release.

“Because of people like Casey, our communities are safer from sexual predators,” he said.

Duffield also works with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association to train other sheriffs’ offices on using the software.

“Her contributions are an important part of our successful management of the Sex Offender Registry,” Sheriff Butch Conway said in a press release.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office manages, tracks, verifies and notifies the public about sex offenders in the county.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/news/gwinnett-county-sheriffs-office-receives-national-sex-offender-award/article_f2bdaf40-91fb-11e9-88c7-f7ae4f2b47f5.html

82 arrested in multi-state operation for child pornography

82-arrested-in-multi-state-operation-for-child-pornography

DECATUR, Ga. (CBS46) – An operation between eight southeastern states arrested 82 people in April.

Officials reported rescuing 17 children who were identified as victims in the operation.

According to the GBI, the arrestees ranged in age from 20 to 70.

The Operation Southern Impact III reported the arrestees to have possessed and distributed child pornography in several southeastern states.

The GBI arrested a total of 31 people in Georgia during the operation including one sex offender.

The execution of the operation started four months ago and included a total of 171 law enforcement.

Those in custody and charged in Georgia as part of Operation Southern Impact III are:

1. James Barfield IV, 51, Atlanta, GA, home improvement store employee

2. Dillan M. Bell, 26, Allenhurst, GA, unemployed

3. Gerald Chamberlain, 34, Rome, GA, golf course maintenance worker

4. Carol Chellew, 56, Jefferson, GA, county employee

5. Doug Chellew, 56, Jefferson, GA, department store employee

6. Timothy Wayne Diggs, 39, Metter, GA, information technology specialist

7. Keith James Diver, 37, Norcross, GA, restaurant employee

8. Erick Noe Gonzalez, 26, Buford, GA, landscaper

9. Erik Gordon, 30, Morrow, GA, shipping company employee

10. Desmond Lemond Hasley, 27, Douglasville, GA, staffing company employee

11. Keidron Jayquan Isham, 23, Rome, GA, unemployed

12. Claude Martin Johnson IV, 21, Augusta, GA, unemployed

13. Andrew Kim, 30, Suwanee, GA, business owner

14. Jordan Logan, 33, Grovetown, GA, painter

15. Jonathan Craig Manning, 28, Rome, GA, railroad worker

16. Andrew J. Martz, 30, Tyrone, GA, student

17. Matthew James McDurmond, 26, Cedartown, unknown

18. Terry Menard, 61, Roswell, GA, multimedia designer

19. Daniel Joseph Mullinax, 35, Auburn, GA, unemployed

20. Justin Lee Myers, 22, Cleveland, GA, unknown

21. Andrew Benjamin Nelson, 42, Marietta, GA, construction worker

22. Michael David Quinn, 44, Roswell, GA, unknown

23. Matthew Steven Ramski, 37, Cumming, GA, graphic design artist

24. Arlen Lemuel Riddle, 46, Muscadine, AL, fireman

25. Malchijah Robinson, 40, Decatur, GA, unemployed

26. David Chris Sammons, 33, Eatonton, GA, factory worker

27. Omar S. Sanchez-Viera, 40, Jonesboro, GA, health supplement company employee

28. Chad Sitzwohl, 35, Dawsonville, GA, factory worker

29. Wille D. Slaughter, 33, Valdosta, GA, military veteran

30. Wan Yeung Tang, 45, Cumming, GA, dishwasher

31. Tyler Wooten, 21, Sharpsburg, GA, student

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/news/82-arrested-in-multi-state-operation-for-child-pornography/article_9f6c68d6-6dd4-11e9-9c0a-7b3abcab5184.html

Ga. Supreme Court blocks lifetime GPS trackers for sex offenders

ga.-supreme-court-blocks-lifetime-gps-trackers-for-sex-offenders

ATLANTA, GA (CBS46) On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously voted against a bill that would require sexual predators to wear GPS monitoring devices for life.

The ruling determined Georgia law O.C.G.A. 42-1-14(E) to be unconstitutional “in the requirement that a person classified as a sexually dangerous predator who is no longer in custody, on parole, or probation wear a GPS monitoring device.”

Specifically stating the Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The law also states that the offender would not only have to wear the monitor for the rest of their “natural life”, but that they are also responsible for paying for the device.

“Nothing in this ruling relieves a person determined to be a sex offender from the requirements of registering in the county they reside in, and following the rules of the registry,” said Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap.

The sheriff says the county will abide by the ruling. Adding, “that all four of the Bartow County persons designated as sexually dangerous predators who are no longer on any sentence status (probation or parole) have had their GPS tracking devices removed to conform to this ruling.”

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/news/ga-supreme-court-blocks-lifetime-gps-trackers-for-sex-offenders/article_c93bca60-405e-11e9-8064-7336b758b1f6.html

20 men arrested in undercover child sex sting

20-men-arrested-in-undercover-child-sex-sting








20 arrested sting Georgia

(Meredith) — Twenty men were arrested as part of an undercover operation targeting potential sexual predators, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday. 

The four-day effort, dubbed “Operation Paladin,” was centered in Bartow County and took several months of planning.

During the investigation, which began Nov. 1, detectives posed as minors on social media platforms. Authorities said the suspects, ranging in age from 20 to 59, communicated with and solicited sex from who they thought were children. 

“In some of those cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the minor (undercover agent) to pornography or requesting the child take nude or pornographic images for them,” the GBI said in a press release.

The suspects allegedly traveled around Northwest Georgia with the intent of meeting a child for sex.

One person who was arrested was a registered sex offender. Multiple suspects were in possession of suspected illegal drugs. Another person was arrested in possession of a firearm. 

The men were charged with human trafficking for labor sexual servitude, and/or under the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007, authorities said. 

A dozen law enforcement agencies worked together on the operation, including the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.

The names, ages, residences, occupations and charges of those arrested are listed below:

  • Randall Ball, W/M, Acworth, GA, 25 years of age, grocery stocker
  • Bailey Brown, W/M, Jasper, GA, 29 years of age, emergency home repair responder
  • Richard Brown, W/M, Trion, GA, 53 years of age, mill worker
  • Steven Byers, W/M, Jasper, GA, 33 years of age, electrician
  • Bryan Cain, W/M, Calhoun, GA, 36 years of age, unemployed/college student
  • Jeffrey Coleman, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 52 years of age, glass technician
  • Michael Crider, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 51 years of age, CAD operator
  • Daniel Dorough, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 56 years of age, self-employed landscaper
  • Daniel Ewart, W/M, Cartersville. GA, 38 years of age, tow truck driver
  • Shawn Jeffrey, B/M, Powder Springs, GA, 26 years of age, pest control technician
  • Clarence Mann, W/M, Kingston, GA, 59 years of age, truck driver
  • Vernale Mascall, B/M, Cartersville, GA, 25 years of age, fast food worker
  • Rick Paul, B/M, Dallas, GA, 25 years of age, Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Isaac Sanchez, H/M, Summerville, GA, 20 years of age, painter
  • Charlie Smith III, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 45 years of age, patient care technician
  • Thomas Smith, B/M, Rome, GA, 43 years of age, delivery driver
  • Timothy Smith, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 57 years of age, customer service
  • Conner Thrash, W/M, Woodstock, GA, 28 years of age, truck driver
  • Michael Turner, W/M, Villa Rica, GA, 37 years of age, unemployed
  • Michael Wills, W/M, Cartersville, GA, 34 years of age, tree service employee

Copyright 2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/20-men-arrested-in-undercover-child-sex-sting/article_c1d99094-5657-5f77-94d0-725476255534.html

Sheriff puts ‘no trick-or-treat’ signs in yards of registered sex offenders

sheriff-puts-‘no-trick-or-treat’-signs-in-yards-of-registered-sex-offenders

(Meredith) –  Deputies in Georgia have posted “no trick-or-treat” signs in the yards of registered sex offenders as an extra precaution to keep children safe this Halloween.

Butts County Sheriff Gary Long posted a photo of the sign to Facebook on Saturday and wrote that “there is nothing more important to me than the safety of our children.”

The signs include bold letters, stop sign graphics and a straight-forward message: “WARNING! NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!!”

Long told CBS News there are 54 registered sex offenders in Butts County, which is about 45 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Though he’s received mostly positive feedback from parents in the community, Long said some of the sex offenders emailed him saying the signs were an “embarrassment.”

“At the end of the day, I don’t care if they do like it or if they don’t like it. My job us to ensure the safety of the children and the community and that’s what I’m going to do,” Long told CBS News.

The sheriff wrote on Facebook that the signs were placed in accordance with Georgia Law O.C.G.A. 42-1-12-i(5).

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations website, the law states, “The sheriff’s office in each county shall:  Inform the public of the presence of sexual offenders in each community.”

Georgia state law also prohibits sex offenders from decorating their property on Halloween.

Copyright 2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/sheriff-puts-no-trick-or-treat-signs-in-yards-of-registered-sex-offenders/article_cfd84088-5b2c-5c31-a105-9279b22979de.html

Georgia town will detain sex offenders on Halloween for kids’ safety

georgia-town-will-detain-sex-offenders-on-halloween-for-kids’-safety

GROVETOWN, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia mayor says the roughly 30 sex offenders on probation in his city will be held at city hall on Halloween to ensure the safety of local children.

News outlets report Grovetown Mayor Gary E. Jones announced the idea Monday on Facebook saying he wants to detain the offenders for several hours. He says they’ll be supervised by a local police officer and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, which he says can require offenders report to a specific location.

Jones initially said all sex offenders would be held, but edited the post to refer to those on probation. Jones’ effort has received a mixed community response.

He previously made headlines in 2014 when he was the city’s police chief and required inmates wear hot pink uniforms.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/georgia-town-will-detain-sex-offenders-on-halloween-for-kids-safety/article_769e90a9-b077-5010-8ed3-d13577629860.html

Georgia mayor wants to detain sex offenders on Halloween

georgia-mayor-wants-to-detain-sex-offenders-on-halloween

GROVETOWN, Ga. (AP)

A Georgia mayor says the roughly 30 sex offenders on probation in his city will be held at city hall on Halloween to ensure the safety of local children.

News outlets report Grovetown Mayor Gary E. Jones announced the idea Monday on Facebook saying he wants to detain the offenders for several hours. He says they’ll be supervised by a local police officer and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, which he says can require offenders report to a specific location.

Jones initially said all sex offenders would be held, but edited the post to refer to those on probation. Jones’ effort has received a mixed community response.

He previously made headlines in 2014 when he was the city’s police chief and required inmates wear hot pink uniforms.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.cbs46.com/news/georgia-mayor-wants-to-detain-sex-offenders-on-halloween/article_7d453464-d837-11e8-a2ca-7b3c6bf74595.html

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