MO Supreme court sides with sex offenders in latest ruling - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

MO Supreme court sides with sex offenders in latest ruling

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By Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Two sex offenders sue the state of Missouri over a law that bars them from handing out candy on Halloween, and living within 1000 feet of schools and child care centers.

Tuesday, the high court ruled in favor of the offenders.

 The Missouri Supreme Court combined two separate cases together last year. In one case, a sex offender was barred from moving in with his fiance because her home was too close to a child care center. The other case involved an offender who was charged after police saw a woman handing out Halloween candy from his home.

"If someone was convicted no mater when it was they should not be allowed around children at all," said Edward Speakman.

 That's the reaction from most parents we spoke with Tuesday.

"The court said today this violates the retrospective aspect as part of the constitution because clearly it is posing a new restriction on the person," said Cape County Prosecuting Attorney,  Morley Swingle.

Swingle explains, the issue is complicated and creates more work for everyone, including the sex offender, prosecutors, and law enforcement.

"Now it all depends on when did you get your conviction and when was this restriction on a sex offender passed. You have to do a bit of calculus to figure it out," said Swingle. "I also think if the public could choose, they would want all restriction to apply to all offenders."

Swingle says he'd like to see legislatures give voters a chance to amend the wording of Missouri's constitution and that could pave the way for a more common sense law.

Since June of 2009, all sex offenders convicted or pleading guilty since June 1, 1979 have to register. Right now it's not clear if the state will appeal the ruling.

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