The following came from a Fox affiliate in Atlanta (

In a hearing that lasted more than three hours, a federal judge heard testimony and arguments Thursday in a lawsuit by sex offenders against a middle Georgia sheriff’s office.

“It’s a balancing test and that’s what makes this case so difficult,” said U.S. District Court Judge Marc Treadwell during the hearing.

On the one hand, Treadwell said, the government has a compelling interest in protecting children, but on the other, the sex offenders impacted are no longer in jail and have paid their debt to society.

Judge Treadwell gave both sides a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday to submit any additional documents or materials for his consideration.

He must not only decide whether to grant an injunction against the sheriff’s office to stop the posting of the flyers, but also whether to grant all the county’s sex offenders class-action status. That would mean his ruling would apply to not only the homes of the three plaintiffs but all 55 registered sex offenders in Butts County.

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