Reed v. Long, No. 19-cv–385 (M.D. Ga. 2019)
Nature of Case: Several individuals who were required to register as sex offenders pursuant to Georgia law brought a putative class action lawsuit against Georgia sheriff who had planned to place signs in their yards for Halloween designating their homes as “no trick or treat” locations. Plaintiffs were threatened with arrest if they removed the signs, and were prohibited from posting signage contesting the designation. Plaintiffs brought their claim pursuant to the First Amendment, and requested a preliminary injunction.
Holding: Federal district court granted Plaintiffs’ requested injunction in part. The Court held that the Plaintiffs had demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on their constitutional claim that the sign posting plan unconstitutionally burdened their First Amendment rights as compelled speech. The Court further noted that that sheriff had not presented any evidence beyond the fact that the Plaintiffs had been convicted of some sexual offense and were required to register as sex offenders that they presented any kind of a present threat to children. The Court stopped short of granting the relief as to the putative class, holding that it was only binding on the named Plaintiffs.