Butts County Sheriff, Gary Long, is appealing the District Court’s Ruling that placing signs on the properties of persons required to register violates their First Amendment Right!
If you recall, Sheriff Long was enjoined from placing signs saying, “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!! A COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM BUTTS COUNTY SHERIFF GARY LONG.” at the homes of people on the sex offender registry in Butts County, Georgia during the week of Halloween.
The decision was a great win, so why is it exciting that he is appealing? Because Florida and Alabama share the same federal appellate circuit as Georgia. A potential win in the 11th Circuit would mean that the decision would become binding precedent in a Florida District Court. So, say someone in Duval wanted to bring a lawsuit challenging their Halloween Sign ordinance, they could rely on the 11th Circuit Case as case law.
It’s important to remember that appeals can take a while, so another Halloween might pass before any decision on their appeal is rendered. Also, it’s important to remember that cases can go either way – while we feel the registrant plaintiffs have a very strong argument and should win, any appeal is a risk. All that said, we’re excited by the potential of this appeal and we will certainly be watching the case.