McClendon v. Long, No. 21-10092 (11th Cir. 2022)
Nature of Case: Appellants in this case are three individuals registered as “sex offenders” residing in Butts County. In October of 2018, the Butts County Sheriff’s Office placed signs in front of the homes of all individuals in the county required to register as “sex offenders” warning “STOP” and “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS.” Before Halloween 2019, the Appellants in this case sued seeking to enjoin the Sheriff from placing the signs again. The district court denied a permanent injunction and granted summary judgment in favor of the Sheriff.
Holding: The 11th Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case, concluding that the Sheriff’s warning signs are compelled government speech, and that their placement violates a homeowner’s First Amendment rights. The Court found that even if the Halloween yard signs at issue would prevent the sexual abuse of children, noting that such a conclusion was not supported by any evidence in the record, the signs were not narrowly tailored to serve the government’s compelling interest. The Court further rejected the Sheriff’s argument that his intent was to place the signs in the public right-of-way and that, as Sheriff, he has authority to do so, concluding that the Sheriff failed to show that he was authorized to place the signs.
- 11th Circuit Opinion
- Appellants’ Brief
- Appellees’ Brief
- Appellants’ Reply Brief
- ACLU Amicus Brief
- ACSOL & NARSOL Amici Brief