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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Infringing on the right to pass out candy

As Halloween approaches and we send our kids roaming through the neighborhoods to gather their yearly haul of treats safety should always be on parent’s minds. Visibility, safe costumes, etc. are always checked off. But do we pay attention to the neighborhoods in which our children trick or treat? And from whom the treats are obtained? Hopefully, parents escort younger children. Older children that go unescorted can also find themselves in dangerous situations.

In recent years, communities have required that registered sex offenders identify their homes with either a “sex offender” or “no candy” sign”. MD Dept of Parole and Probation, who manages the Sex Offender Registry, has had this policy since 2005.

In 2012, Sex offenders in Simi Valley, CA successfully challenged a city ordinance in Federal Court citing a violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Lawyers for the group California Reform Sex Offender Laws, CA RSOL, filed a lawsuit in Federal court during September 2013. The suit alleges that the city of Orange is violating sex offenders First Amendment rights by requiring the posting of signs on Halloween night. Lawyers feel that the ordinance places sex offenders at risk. They also cite that there has not been a documented incident of a sex offender harming a child on Halloween night.

Should sex offenders be allowed to pass out candy on Halloween? Communities are saying no. One court has said yes. Expect the California rulings to pick up steam each year as more suits are filed.
Parents should know the neighborhoods and for the most part the homes the children are visiting. There are also many online resources to assist parents in their research.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Class ring finds its way home after 60 years

A client from Gambrills, MD brought to us a high school ring from 1954. She was organizing her jewelry and found a ring she had purchased at a flea market three decades ago. She bought it for it's unique design and never really inspected the fine engraving until this past spring.  Upon further inspection she realized that the ring she had was a lady’s 1954 class ring from Reitz High School. The client thought that an attempt to locate the owner should be made.

The ring’s design only offered a year, high school name, and initials.  Luckily, there was only one Reitz High School located and that was in Evansville, Indiana. School officials were contacted and confirmed that the ring appeared to be from their school. Unfortunately, they did not have any detailed records from that year. Reitz High School 1954 yearbooks were located but there were no females listed with the matching initials. Further investigation discovered that the class was having a reunion in October 2013. The reunion coordinator was located and told the story of the ring. The coordinator did not recognize the initials. She also searched class lists and yearbooks to no avail.

The summer passed with no more leads. In October, we contacted the reunion coordinator once more so that she could bring up the conversation at the reunion. As luck would have it the coordinator had found a possible lead over the summer but had lost our contact information.  A name was provided, researched and contact information located. The possible owner was contacted and the ring described. She explained that she had dropped out of school in her junior year for personal reasons and never took delivery of her ring. She later completed her education but never was able to obtain the ring. She moved a lot after high school and assumed that the school could not locate her.

As can be imagined, she was thrilled to hear that her ring had somehow traveled to Maryland and been safely contained in someone’s personal collection for the last thirty years.