Judge: Georgia sheriff can't put Halloween warning signs up

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JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a Georgia sheriff from posting signs in front of the homes of three registered sex offenders warning people not to trick-or-treat there.

Judge Marc Treadwell in Macon ruled Tuesday that the sex offenders were likely to win their argument that Butts County Sheriff Gary Long's signs violate their free speech rights.

The judge said the sheriff was forcing the sex offenders to accept his message that their homes were unsafe for children by forbidding them from removing the signs or putting up a competing message.

Long in a statement on Facebook cited a Georgia law that requires sheriffs to inform people about sex offenders. He said he will continue to fight for children, but there isn't enough time to appeal the judge's ruling before Halloween.

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