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Packingham: Unanimous Court strikes NC’s social media ban

By Robin . . . In a broadly worded opinion penned by Justice Kennedy, a unanimous Supreme Court has closed the door on laws restricting access to the internet and social media forums by Americans who were convicted of a crime but who are no longer serving a criminal sentence.

In reversing the N.C. Supreme Court’s decision in Packingham v. North Carolina, the high Court admits wading into uncharted territory by explaining that the case “is one of the first [it] has taken to address the relationship between the First Amendment and the modern Internet,” but was guided to its decision by long held and fundamental approaches to First Amendment jurisprudence.

While in the past there may have been difficulty in identifying the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views, today the answer is clear. It is cyberspace—the ‘vast democratic forums of the Internet’ . . . [and] the Court must exercise extreme caution before suggesting that the First Amendment provides scant protection for access to vast networks in that medium.”

The Court made clear that states remain within the legitimate and permissible contours of First Amendment protections whenever they seek to restrict criminal conduct. “Specific criminal acts are not protected speech even if speech is the means for their commission.” Thus, laws targeting a sex offender (or anyone else) who engages in “conduct that often presages a sexual crime, like contacting a minor or using a website to gather information about a minor” will continue to be constitutionally enforceable.

Stating that North Carolina had not met its burden to demonstrate that a social media ban achieved its legitimate interests in protecting children from predators, the Court held that states “may not enact [a] complete bar to the exercise of First Amendment rights on websites integral to the fabric of our modern society and culture.”

The Court appeared particularly concerned about the application of restrictive laws to citizens who “are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system” and found it “unsettling to suggest that only a limited set of websites can be used even by persons who have completed their sentences.” The specific question before the Court in Packingham provided no opportunity for the Court to resolve this tension, but it’s a prescient concern that Justice Kennedy was keen to observe which was embraced by at least four additional justices.

NARSOL was joined by its North Carolina affiliate, NCRSOL, and the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) on an amicus brief filed in support of the petitioner, Lester Packingham. Congratulations are in order to Atty. Glenn Gerding who first represented Mr. Packingham at trial and through the state’s appellate process and also to Prof. David Goldberg who argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

This topic contains 114 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Kenneth 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #7789 Reply

    Kenneth

    Submitting email addresses is so the offender’s online tracks can be followed if an investigation ever needs to be started.
    Since most forums require either a username or email address to post (like here), the offender’s address can be used to track the doings of the person being investigated.. I am, in no way, saying that it’s fair.

  • #7788 Reply

    Lovecraft

    For those on probation/parole I spoke to a ppo this morning and he said the blanket ban is still in effect for anyone in NC who is registered and still on paper. They are still sifting through the court decision and he said they will have more concrete rules for social media in effect in the next week or 2, but he suspects the ban will consist of “any social media site that allows minors”

    I tried to explain to him that that condition is too broad even for parole and it could most likely be challenged and won. I also explained that having something that broad severely limits my ability to reintegrate into society and that the length of parole/probation for registrants in NC (5 years) makes this overly excessive. On top of that I said based on the wording its basically impossible for me to know what websites are off limits or which ones are ok. (Basically cant use the internet) Based on what he said, essentially the statute that got shot down by the scotus is still in effect for ppo. I will state for the record my ppo is a pretty stand up guy who maintains a good professional relationship and is fair. He offered to assist or facilitate a meeting with his supervisor or help with any legal process if I wanted to try to get this condition removed.

    I would think they would try to narrowly tailor the ban for those on paper. I know those on paper have limited rights, but you would think the ppo dept would shy away from a blanket ban for those on paper.

  • #7787 Reply

    Tim L

    When they ask for email addresses but have no intention to communicate with the offender via the email, then what was the purpose of asking?

    When I ask for an email address I do so with the intent of using it to communicate. At my 2011 registry violation trial I asked my attorney to ask that question to my accuser, he refused!

    Obviously they have a reason for asking, but it is not for communication purposes. That begs the question. Why are you asking for my email when you have no intention of using it for its original intended purpose?

  • #7786 Reply

    James Townsend

    Wow the reply’s to this post are a lot. While I know I haven’t been on here in a long time I just want to inform everyone that their is hope in all this Sexual crap via the internet scheme that law enforcement has set up.

    I have just been informed today my probation officer and the sex treatment instructor decided I no longer need to come to class. They feel that it would be more harmful than helpful in my case. While I wasn’t quite sure and a bit confused when presented this opportunity last week it seems I went ahead with their decision.

    What started in 2012 with this little internet deception and than the treatment program and down the road no treatment program and than later on back to treatment program, not to mention a little violation for not complying and a bit of interference during the polygraph test which resulted me back into court with the result of complying with the sex offender treatment program and now they feel they don’t want me into the class for their reasons I was a bit confused but took the offer anyway.

    Now I have always been against these sex sting operations via the internet and deception is deception and I don’t care if the supreme court says they can do these things. We all know I am sure who they are going above.

    While all the money spent has gone down the drain to fight in these ordeals it is water over the bridge. It could be said its all about money and it hurts me to see those in class hand their money or fee to those sex offender instructor during each class as I had to do in the past.

    While the old saying ” don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” I still believe their is other motives in all this that are very crafty as these sting opportunities are. I would still like everyone to keep on pushing for these operations to go away as it is no more than man’s crafty scheme to dupe those into all this endeavor.

    I hope everybody is doing well on here and NARSOL keep up the good work and each individual on here hang in their and fight this injustice as I am still doing.

  • #7785 Reply

    Kendal

    Ok, eenie meeny miney moe, I will put this reply here….

    So something that has struck me recently, is that when all the decisions that registration was not punitive were made, registration was different. It was simply a list that you had to keep the information current on, true it still felt a little punitive, but in reality, it was just administrative. Then started the restrictions. You can’t live here, you can’t go there, you can’t you can’t you can’t. This has made registration punitive, and someone needs to bring this up to the idiots that still believe it is not punitive. I have personally told the police when I registered, and they started telling me what I could and could not do, that they would not do that. I will do what I want, when I want, and if they have a problem with it, then we will go to court. And so far, nothing has happened. I even stuck in their face when a good friend of mine lived with me and the police tried to tell me to so’s could not live together. I reminded them that makes it punitive and therefore unconstitutional. They left, we continued to live together for 6 months until he got married.

    When I was convicted, I gave up three rights, the right to bear arms, the right to vote and the right to be on a jury. Now, 25 years later, they have restore 2 of those rights, and if I really wanted to own a gun I would go after the third. That being said, my rights to travel, and especially to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have not been given up and will not be given up. It may be a battle, but I have been fighting it for 25 years now.

    Yes, I am on a tirade this morning, but I am right. Make restrictions, and the registration becomes punitive, and if the registration becomes punitive, then ex post facto jumps in. It is really that simple.

    And btw, I do have an attorney now working on this very thing to not only get me off registration, but to make it as if I was never on it. Let’s hope for the best.

  • #7784 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    So far there is only an annual fee of $50.00, but I am sure they would love to charge us every time.

  • #7783 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    So if you are driving down the road and a school bus is in the oncoming lane heading towards you, if you don’t veer off the road in a hurry are you in violation of the law?

    Madness, but I don’t wouldn’t put it past them.

  • #7782 Reply

    Mig

    I agree. I won’t make a move until some sort of “official” statement is made.
    There were 18 RSO’s arrested in a Louisiana city a couple of years ago for using social media. I wonder how slow the state will be to toss out those convictions/charges
    Did you know that Louisiana Tier 2 and Tier 3 RSO’s cannot be within 1000 feet of a school bus? Does this mean that those RSO’s are provided with school bus schedules so they will know where they CANNOT be? How do legislators think that makes anyone safer? Would they pass a law that bank robbers cannot be within 1000 feet of an armored car? And if they did, do you think the armored car companies would be willing to give their schedules to convicted bank robbers in order for those bank robbers to know where they CANNOT be? Same logic with the school bus… if the state wants RSO’s to stay at least 1000 feet from a school bus then that means the RSO’s are supposed to know where the school buses are. Right? How would parents of the kids on those school buses feel if they knew that RSO’s state-wide had the bus schedules? Do they feel safer now? Just a thought and an illustration about how ridiculous the law makers are. Last year there was a bill in Louisiana putting this same 1000 foot distance between RSO’s and any home school residence. If this would have become law, then each and every RSO would be entitled to the addresses of each and every home school residence in the state of Louisiana. Fortunately, the bill was withdrawn. Maybe someone came to their senses.
    Keep in mind that these distances do not just apply to residing in that zone… in includes a RSO’s PRESENCE in that zone. This includes hospitals, airports, Walmart, etc. I made a map of my city and it is absolutely impossible for a Tier 2 or 3 RSO to even drive through on the Interstate. He/she would have to exit the Interstate and drive through residential neighborhoods at 15-25mph in order to comply with the 1000 foot restriction because there are two high schools on the Interstate here. Do parents that think they are “safer” actually know that the “evil and dangerous” RSO’s are not allowed to drive on the Interstate at 65mph, but instead must drive through their neighborhoods. Hey Mr. Legislator… do you still think your law makes people “safer”?
    Keep in mind, if you are a RSO from any other state and you drive through my city on the Interstate, you must exit and drive through residential neighborhoods in order to be in compliance.

  • #7781 Reply

    Money driven perhaps?

    Is there a financial stake in MI every time you update your paperwork, e.g. a reregister fee? If there is, that is a lot of extra money to process a new internet identifier.

  • #7780 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    I would be hesitant about going after Facebook since it really wasn’t their fault. As someone else pointed out, they were threatened by an ag with a lawsuit after they originally refused. I wouldn’t be against us threatening them with an ultimatum to change their tos or face a lawsuit though

  • #7779 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Just like ban the box initiatives though, this doesn’t help registrants much when a simple Google search reveals our status. Also, read the actual wording of laws that release restrictions on all convicts. They often have clauses in them that exclude sex offenders

  • #7778 Reply

    Discarded Asset

    Mig,

    I am a RSO and live in Louisiana also and I would recommend prudence (as my lawyer has) and not do it just yet. While you would win any challenge in court, the fact remains that Louisiana will likely hold out as long as they can and in the meantime you could end up in prison temporarily. Keep your ears open as we will likely have this right restored very soon. I know it’s hard to be patient right now as it has been 5 years since we have been able to have social media. 🙁

  • #7777 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Don’t forget to report it as required, usually within 3 days.

  • #7776 Reply

    admin
    Member

    Absolutely.

  • #7775 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Actually, that’s not entirely correct. There is no federal registry in the way you claim. The AWA and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children Act only serve to force the states to create registries. There is no official federal registry other than piggybacking off of the states’ respective registries. I only know this because I was convicted by military court martial. There was no requirement that I join a registry, although they had instructions that I follow registry laws in whatever state I resided in. Since Indiana has declared SORA punitive as it applies to Indiana residents, I have considered fighting my registry status on ex post facto grounds.

  • #7774 Reply

    Mig

    I am a Tier 1 RSO in Louisiana and no longer on probation. Does this ruling mean I can now use social media?

  • #7773 Reply

    Tim L

    Do not worry, the registries are not intended to apply “affirmative disability or restraint”. The people would never do that.

  • #7772 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Actually Michigan needs all new internet identifiers within 3 days of their creation, not on your next verification period. If you start a social media account, you need to tell them within 3 business days and report which website it is and the name you are using on it. The only thing they do not require you to report within 3 days is a change in a phone number. That you must report on your next verification period.

    It makes no sense. Logically one would think; why not just come in when there is a change to something? What is the point of a verification month when you have to report all changes within 3 days anyway? I suspect that is the idea, to keep registrants off balance and always guessing what their requirements are, because it makes it more likely they will make a mistake and can be charged with something. They got to keep that prison industry going.

    Yes, most social media sites ban registrants, but they can’t arrest you for creating an account. They can only kick you off it.

  • #7771 Reply

    Jonny Everyman

    New law in Seattle may allow RSO’s to not have to disclose their status to Landlord’s.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-mayor-proposes-help-for-renters-with-criminal-records/

  • #7770 Reply

    Bill

    It would be nice to be on facebook to keep up with friends and family.

  • #7769 Reply

    Bill

    Fred,

    Michigan forces us to give our email addresses when we verify our address. Not sure about the social media sites; but don’t most social media sites ban sex offenders? Does this ruling affect those social media companies?

  • #7768 Reply

    Bill

    I believe all of the Justices have a copy of the studies.

  • #7767 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    I’m surprised continued state supervision hasn’t been challenged in your state yet. Probation and parole are recognized as punishments. If you have served your adjudged sentence, then you are being punished “ex post facto” which is roughly translated to “after the fact” and it is strictly prohibited in the constitution. Ex post facto cases make up the bulk of challenges by registered citizens; however, the courts are able to step around this by labeling registration as a civil measure and non-punitive. There is no way they can label probation and parole the same way. I would suggest contacting a legal clinic or the ACLU in your area.

  • #7766 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    So, what you are saying is that when the big case comes up that challenges the entire registry for those of us not on probation or parole, Justice Alito is basically telling the petitioning lawyers what they need to be fighting in their argument. That’s an interesting take and I hope it’s true. Either way, the majority opinion had 5 justices which is enough for a majority in the next case. I’m very optimistic.

  • #7765 Reply

    admin
    Member

    I have no doubts about the need for reform in the area of probation, but it would be herculean task and it’s far outside the reach of NARSOL’s organizational vision and mission.

  • #7764 Reply

    Maestro

    Meanwhile, the pervert in the Goofy costume only took the job so he can be close to children.
    This is something we NEED ago shove down their throats and up their arses; ANYONE can commit a sex offense. Just because someone doesn’t have a criminal record doesn’t make them sparkling clean.

  • #7763 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Wow. Interesting perspective. And here I was thinking he just didn’t get the memo.
    If that is true, very clever.

  • #7762 Reply

    Maestro

    Do you find yourself in agreement with the draconian “rules” of probation?
    Why can’t probation simply be what its original intent was; Don’t commit anymore crimes, prove that you can do good in society and have a nice life. If you get arrested again for a CRIME (not a technicality like drinking a beer or using the internet) then you’ve proven you cannot stay out of trouble and away you will go.

    Why can’t it just be like that?

    Probation officer’s lame excuse; “We have to keep people safe as well as keep YOU safe. There are kids on social media. What if you’re chatting with someone and you don’t know how old they are”

    My reply; “What about when I’m OFF probation and I can then simply TALK to whomever I want so long as it’s not disrespectful or criminal in intent? What then?”

    Probation officer; “………”

    Me: “Yeah. Exactly.”

  • #7761 Reply

    admin
    Member

    Please see my response to Fred.

  • #7760 Reply

    admin
    Member

    I don’t want to speculate too much. But let’s assess the facts. 1) Alito deliberately bypassed the “frightening and high” language from McKune. 2) He cites to the weakest statistical support he can find (as the Washington Post has helped to point out in its video today). 3) He’s writing a concurrence that sounds like a dissent. 4) The majority makes very little noise about recidivism or re-offense rates. 5) He’s a well-educated man who holds a seat on arguably the most esteemed judicial bench in the history of the world. Now, take all of that and wrap it together, add a little salt and pepper, and you’ve got a peculiarity that demands more sophisticated explanation. And the only thing I can come up with is that Alito is deliberately poisoning the well out of which the Court has been drinking all these years: McKune v. Lile. In a sense, one could view his whimpering citation to McKune as the Court’s way of saying, “The old bitch ain’t dead yet, but she’s sure as hell on the way.”

  • #7759 Reply

    Maestro

    Will,

    I keep saying it and everyone keeps ignoring it; Probation is a useless waste of tax payer money and should be dismantled.
    Probation is more than half to blame for many of us being homeless.
    For the states that do NOT have SOR conditions (like CT has none) it’s only the supervision dept who stops us from using certain electronic devices and where we can live, how we can go about finding a job, etc.
    Once probation is completed, even if you’re still required to register (in CT), you can own all the computers, tablets, smartphones you want. And you can live where you want with the only person to say “yes” or “no” being the landlord you’re trying to rent from.

    It seems to me, because I take very close observations when speaking to probation officers, that the less you have in life, the happier they are. When they say “How’s everything?” (as if you’re supposed to say Everything is great! Please add MORE conditions cuz I love being a slave to your authoritarian bullshit), I have observed their care-less facial expressions and attitudes when I’ve said things are horrible.
    I live in shitty conditions in the ghetto and work a shitty job that barely pays my rent. Gee, how do YOU think things are going?

    I cannot speak about “parole” as I’ve never experienced parole. That’s a privilege given based on prison conduct. And in many cases, people don’t get paroled no matter how good they are in prison.

    But probation needs to end. No one needs to be on probation.
    Anyone who disagrees with that should explain to me (and everyone else) how going to see a PO once a week/month for all of 30-60 seconds as they type up on their computers your answers to their “how’s everything” stupidity, how is this being “supervised” and making people feel safe?
    The longest I’ve spent in my officers little office room was 2 mins and that was because I was waiting for her to type up the travel pass because, as a tax payer, I need permission to move about within my own country. But when we’re off “supervised release”, we can go do whatever we want and yet we’re still the same people who broke the law.

    Also, I’m sick to death of this nonsense about whether or not our crimes happened by use of a computer/internet. What if my crime was that I met the underage teen at a PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BUS STOP? What then? Well, I’ve got an answer for you because I had the nerve enough to ask it of my PO as well as the brainwashing group called the “Treatment Providers”, the answer is “Well, you have to get around so we can’t keep you away from using public transportation”.
    Ah, ok. Cool. And there are a lot of jobs that require you to fill out their applications ONLINE. So you technically don’t have the friggin right to keep us off of an ESSENTIAL TOOL of today’s society.

  • #7758 Reply

    WaPo video on this article
  • #7757 Reply

    In Search of Liberty

    rwvnral, Will you please elaborate/clarify on your below statement?

    June 21, 2017 at 12:28 pm
    “…I actually think Alito knows what he’s doing here. I suspect he is wiser than we think…”

    I believe I understand what you are alluding to but just asking to make sure. And one more question: with will over 15 years of empirical research done showing/proving that there is no high recidivism rate for RSOs, why do you think some of the Justices still cling to that opinion? Have they not read at least a smidget of this research or are they choosing to turn a blind eye to it?

  • #7756 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    So you think he is rejecting the data intentionally? What do you think he is hoping to accomplish with that?

  • #7755 Reply

    Tim L

    Yes! SOR is too like P& P. “New dress?…nah same old.”

  • #7754 Reply

    Tim L

    Express your anger toward the politic! Do it openly, without regard for your own shame. THEY ARE USING OUR SHAME AND GUILT to keep us quiet!
    You have violated an individual person. They have violated constitutional guarantees in their plain meeting for populist political position! This is EXACTLY WHAT THE FOUNDERS FEARED MOST! They also knew such acts would eventually lead to the demise of the nation. SOR BREEDS DISCONTENT, NOT TRANQUILLITY!

    The people can thank lawyers like Mr Roberts for this distortion. He, when arguing on behalf of the state of Alaska in Doe claimed that ” registration itself imposed no affirmative disability or restraint.” Yet we all suspected restraint was exactly its underlying purpose. Today we have proof of stats actual intenteffect! J.P. Stevens recognized this from the onset but the majority was in denial. (See Logan U of S. Florida)

    IMO – The ” real purpose” of SORs was ” unfettered uses of a database” to “monitor the entire population via electronic means” EX.METADATA!

    They claim it necessary for public protection when Political security is its ultimate advantage. Americas rush headlong into the information age is fraught with pitfalls.

  • #7753 Reply

    admin
    Member

    I actually think Alito knows what he’s doing here. I suspect he is wiser than we think.

  • #7752 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    I hope Alito catches wind of this article and adjusts his opinion before Does v. Snyder.

  • #7751 Reply

    Tim L

    That is what lawyers do, ” twist words” !n Wisconsin, The term
    ” extended supervision’ is applied to convitees of sex offenses during the sentencing phase of trial. Extended supervision as a ” civil obligation” apposed to P&P as a punitive sanction.

    In reality, there are only minor differences. For instance P&P The state CAN tell you what you can or cannot do- PERMISSION.
    NOT SO if you are on registration only You do not need permission to say.. Leave the state, enter a drinking establishment, take a job. Tho you still.must inform state that you have done so. We are given 10 days in this state (WI).

    The Murky nature of registration obligations IS of a concern to some courts as is on display with the Illinois case mentioned in this thread. SO walking dog in park made a potential felony.

    Innocent conduct criminalised for public safety is unreasonable, but then again the unreasonable is perfectly a acceptable when applied to SOs. This is our reality!

  • #7750 Reply

    Retirement and more data needed

    In the end, it will take either take the retirement of Justice’s Alito, Thomas and Roberts to end this flawed thinking in the High Court or more and more data sent their way for them to finally read and hopefully understand to believe.

    Would love to see another data set or two (or more) become published disputing the flawed data and its thinking to further the overhanging wave of info that could crash on and wipeout the entire flawed thinking process.

    However, someone who does not want to believe despite the data will chose to not believe regardless.

  • #7749 Reply

    WaPo even calls out Justice Alito’s claims
  • #7748 Reply

    Snake oil salesmen…

    And that, Chris, is how almost all politicians get in and get away with it before people realize it is too late. I relate that to a great Ponzi scheme. By then, the taxpayer money will need to be obligated and spent to defend the law even though it was unconstitutional as you said where they knew it before they went forward. If one could only use that as justification to sue them on behalf of the taxpayers for fraud, waste and abuse to recoup the money spent, then and only then would politicians maybe understand. Of course, states can get away with that whereas the smaller political communities cannot afford to always do that, which is why you see some heeding the warning of their entity’s attorney when they are looking to pass a law, e.g. residential restriction distance law. Snake oil salesmen they are….

  • #7747 Reply

    Mike

    You should check with a lawyer for your state in that case. State laws can be tricky when they try and skirt around constitutional laws.

  • #7746 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    North Carolina was outright banning registrants from even accessing social media websites. That is what was found unconstitutional. As far as I know North Carolina was the only state that did that.

    This does not change your reporting requirements or the terms of your probation or supervised release. Please keep that in mind if you attend tonight’s cinference call about this ruling.

    I know everyone is wondering how this affects you in your state. What this means for you is: No state can enact a social media ban that punishes you for accessing those websites. As long as your probation or supervised release allows it, and you report your information to the police, you will be okay.

  • #7745 Reply

    Will

    I’m not just banned from social media per the specialized parole conditions for sex offenders, but from any activities outside employment or educational (for school) uses. The state, as an across-the-board practice denies any sex offender on Community Supervision for life recreational Internet access period without any consideration for whether or not the Internet was used as an instrument of the crimes for which the offender stands convicted. I can’t even look up recipes, watch music videos on YouTube, look up recipes, read the news, etc. I am justifying what I’m doing here as work-related because I should have the freedom to set up a LinkedIn page to promote myself and the business I’m trying to get off the ground.

  • #7744 Reply

    Paul B

    Was giving a PC response. The only thing Megan’s Law has done is make a list of people to discriminate against for the past incidents. Hopefuly NCRSOL and NAROSL will go after NC SO List and the National List as well as the Scarlet mark on new US Passports.

  • #7743 Reply

    admin
    Member

    My advice would be to contact an attorney in TN and seek an answer to this question in light of the outcome in Packingham. I am not able to answer the question. I’m sorry.

  • #7742 Reply

    Will

    rwvnral, would you look up TN Code Ann. 39-13-524 through 39-13-526 and read Tennessee’s Community Supervision for Life statute? The state claims Community Supervision for Life is NOT a punitive measure, but rather a public safety measure to protect potential victims, aid in the rehabilitation of the offender, and to aid the offender is successfully reintegrating with society.

    Since this supervision is NOT traditional probation or parole where the balance of the adjudged sentence is being served in the community, how does the Packingham ruling apply to TN sex offenders who have “flattened” their prison time and are now subject to lifetime supervision? You said in an earlier post that probation or parole is still considered as serving the sentence imposed by the court. What about those of us who have expired our sentences completely minus good conduct time earned, but are still subject to state supervision?

  • #7741 Reply

    admin
    Member

    Will, I am not an attorney so I cannot provide any particularized legal advice. All I can say is what I’ve been saying. I don’t believe Tennessee has a social networking ban as a part of general registration requirements. So, if you are prevented from accessing social media then that is because it’s a condition of whatever form of post-release status you currently have. The Packingham decision does not affect people on probation or parole or any other form of sentence. It only applies to people who are “off paper” and then only in states where there is a social media ban (which does not include TN, insofar as I know). If you feel that you have a case, by all means, take it to court. The Packingham decision may be very helpful as a persuasive case. But the outcome in Packingham DOES NOT provide any kind of relief to anyone on probation. PERIOD! That’s the end of the analysis. There are no further “what ifs” to consider.

  • #7740 Reply

    Will

    rwvnral, would any of these factors come into play for persons who remain on state supervision even AFTER serving the balance of the adjudged sentence:

    (1) Narrowly tailored, more focused measures to ensure no criminal misuse of Internet access takes place such as installing monitoring software on the offender’s computer, questions regarding illicit Internet use during semi-annual polygraph examinations, random unannounced searches of the offender’s computer, phone, tablet, or any other device capable of storing digital data.

    (2) The Internet was not used to commit the offense(s) for which the offender stands convicted.

    (3) A near-total blackout of all Internet activities outside of work or education is too broad and goes beyond the scope necessary to achieve the state’s objectives of protecting society from on-line predation.

    Protected free speech is disproportionately burdened.

  • #7739 Reply

    will

    rwvnral, what about registered citizens who have served out the entirety of their prison sentence minus good time earned, but are on Community Supervision for Life? In TN, Community Supervision for Life begins upon expiration of the prison sentence or the expiration of regular probation/parole.

    I’ve served all my adjudged time, but yet I’m still on state supervision. Does this ruling do anything for me since I’m not on traditional probation or parole?

  • #7738 Reply

    Raj

    The state of North Carolina has been twisting the law by using the term “Supervised Release” instead of Probation for people who have already served their court ordered sentence. “Supervised Release” is a more palatable term, just like “Detention Center” is.

    With Supervised Release, the state can imposed all the restrictions of Probation and more (they usually add like five years of Supervised Release) and yet appear holy and mighty in the public’s eyes. After all they have to protect ‘THOSE CHILDREN”.

    Government has become not the protector of liberty but the usurper there of.

  • #7737 Reply

    Chris

    If you live in NC, you’ve got the current governor, Roy Cooper, to blame for the social media ban. It was his idea, his baby, that he pushed through the legislature while he was NC’s attorney general. Once he proposed the law, it was as good as done, since it would be political suicide to vote against it.
    Cooper KNEW it was unconstitutional and he pushed it anyway. Then he got his cronies at the NC Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals’ ruling against his law.

    I firmly believe that Cooper devised this law back in 2007/2008 as part of his political aspirations. During the primaries last year, Cooper bragged about his role in getting the law passed. Then SCOTUS granted cert and all of a sudden there’s no mention of it from Cooper’s election team. Roy Cooper is just another slick politician who paved his way to the governor’s mansion on the bones of a despised population. I can only hope that his stay in Raleigh is only one term.

  • #7736 Reply

    A real small world unfortunately…

    Read somewhere Disneyland is same in this way.

  • #7735 Reply

    Fed and State angles

    That would need to be tackled, I’d think, from both a state perspective and a federal perspective because the USG has their version of the registry law for federal/military offenses and states have theirs for state offenses. I don’t know if one case would upend both but it would be nice if it did.

  • #7734 Reply

    Jonny everyman

    I am not sure it does it sounds like this applies to those who have served their sentence and are no longer under supervision. If you are under supervision for life it sounds like you would need to consult with an attorney.

  • #7733 Reply

    Jonny everyman

    Great advice. There are probably LEO planning to prey on those who don’t understand this ruling and throw them right into jail. Don’t give them any ammunition to shoot you with

  • #7732 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    First check with your probation officer. If you get the okay, get it in writing as rwvnral said. Then you can create your facebook account, but you absolutely must show up at your place of registering with three business days to report that account. If you don’t you could be charged with failure to comply which is a four year felony in my state. They aren’t saying you can’t have facebook, they just have to know about it. However, after you create your account, you will likely be kicked off facebook within a couple days due to their policy and you will have to return to your place of registering again within 3 days to report that change. Until facebook updates their policy, I wouldn’t even bother, it sets too many holes to step in. I personally will not create an account for myself until it is confirmed that I do not have to report it. Hopefully Does v. Snyder will accomplish that. Please be careful everyone, this was a major victory, but we are not out of the water yet.

  • #7731 Reply

    admin
    Member

    Conditions of probation and/or parole exist as a legitimate extension of punishment because one remains under a sentencing order (and is, therefore, still being lawfully punished….just not in prison). Requirements related to the sex offender registry are separate. So, as a registered citizen, the Packingham decision provides relief from the social media ban. BUT as BOTH a registered citizen AND a probationer or parolee, one’s restrictions flow directly from the conditions of probation or parole as determined by the officer assigned to the case. Can a probation officer in North Carolina restrict a probationer from access to social media? Yes. A probation officer can even restrict one’s access to a computer if it seems like a restriction reasonably related to the interests of probation. The outcome of this case does nothing at all to change the circumstances of probation. This case only impacts registered citizens who are no longer under any form of probation or court-imposed supervision. Can your probation officer release you from any restrictions on the use of social media? Yes. But, as I recommended earlier, I would get that in writing before establishing any social media accounts. AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, PLEASE DO NOT FORGET that North Carolina registration laws STILL REQUIRE you to report any changes in your online identifiers within three days. Don’t forget to do that or you’ll end up where Packingham started for a whole different reason. Best rule of thumb: If you have any doubt about your ability to do it, DON’T do it. These folks are not playing. They are very serious about arresting you and placing you back into prison.

  • #7730 Reply

    Jerry

    I agree, Jeremy. I think Kennedy now realizes he used faulty reasoning and is now asking for a new case to right his wrong.

    As we all continue to thank NARSOL and Attorney Packingham for their dedication in overturning the sex offender registry, I urge all in this forum to join NARSOL and get involved in NARSOL’s state affiliate office in your state. Get family members and friends to join as well. I’m learning that a lot of people who are not affected by the sex offender registry find it to be draconian and unconstitutional. There is strength in numbers.

    Together we WILL WIN THIS BATTLE!!!

  • #7729 Reply

    NC registrant

    I thought this is for everyone?? Why is it diff for offender on probation??

  • #7728 Reply

    Jerry

    Those words are key, Fred! That’s why I’m feeling a lot better since this decision. I think it will get the ball rolling our way!

  • #7727 Reply

    Jerry

    Amen, Chris! All of us who are on that horrible idea of a sex offender registry and are of faith need to thank God for this small victory!

  • #7726 Reply

    Jerry

    AGREE!!!

  • #7725 Reply

    NC registrant

    Thanks!! i thought this would apply to everyone? i also found that state of Kansas and Nebraska do not impose these restriction regardless.. if i ask my PO and if she dont have a problem then it should be FINE correct?

  • #7724 Reply

    admin
    Member

    DO NOT use Facebook or any other form of social media if you are on probation unless and until you are specifically approved to do so by your probation officer…and get that in writing, first. This ruling does not affect conditions of probation or parole.

  • #7723 Reply

    NC registrant

    WHEN CAN WE START USING FACEBOOK? IM ON PROBATION+10 YEAR REGISTRY

  • #7722 Reply

    Kendal

    And I informed facebook of such just this morning.

  • #7721 Reply

    Will

    What about offenders in states that have Community Supervision for Life statutes? Does that alter the fact that the law preempts protected free speech when narrowly tailored restrictions against contacting minors, gathering personal information on minors, or using social media or the Internet in general as a tool of committing a sexual offense? What if the offense that landed the offender on supervision had no connection to the Internet?

  • #7720 Reply

    In Search of Liberty

    The importance of this ruling can likened to Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr first earth orbital flight in Mercury ‘Friendship 7th on February 20, 1962. Now, if SCOTUS not only hears Does v. Snyder but also up-hold the 6th Circuit’s decision that SO laws are in fact punishment and therefore violate Ex Post Facto and Due Process, then that would be like the 1969 Moon Landing and then we can all say “One small step for man….One giant leap for mankind”!!!

  • #7719 Reply

    Hope

    Thank you. I will be ensuring that my husband is fully compliant with the rules of supervision. He just wants to study online towards a degree…..social media usage is not a priority.

  • #7718 Reply

    Additional research….

    Along with Dr Ira and Tara Ellmans research work too….

  • #7717 Reply

    Mike

    If your not on paper any more, i.e. probation or parole, this Packingham should apply.

  • #7716 Reply

    Flawed thinking exists still….

    I read this on another SOL website and found it interesting:

    “Although today’s decision was unanimous, three of the Court’s nine justices – Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito and Justice Thomas — entered a concurring decision which agreed that the North Carolina law violated the First Amendment, but focused upon the “grave risk” that repeat sex offenders pose to children. In their concurrence, the justices repeated the myth that registrants have a high risk of re-offense. Specifically, the justices stated that “(w)hen sex offenders reenter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be rearrested for a new rape or sexual assault.”

    “It is disappointing that three members of the U.S. Supreme Court continue to repeat a myth which has been disproved by decades of research,” stated the interviewee. “That research, including the findings of Dr. Karl Hanson, has overwhelmingly concluded that registrants have a very low rate of re-offense.”

    It looks like there are more opportunities forthcoming to correct this line of thinking, but it is still sad this thinking even exists, even when Justice Kennedy penned this opinion and did not say a thing.

    Keep the pedal to the metal as they say and drive the point home hard every chance you get about this flawed thinking….

  • #7715 Reply

    George

    @ PaulB,

    What??? You actually think that Megan’s law was well intentioned? My God, have you drank the koolaid? The studies done on recidivism rates for former sex offenders show without a doubt that laws such as Megan’s law are not warranted — at all.

    No one should be “on the list” as you say. There is no credible studies that show that a “list” accomplishes anything.

  • #7714 Reply

    Darrin
  • #7713 Reply

    Darrin

    Not sure about Six Flags, but Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. does the same thing. A few years ago, I bought a season pass for both my wife and myself. They sent me the pass, we went there, and had a great time. Soon after, I received a letter stating that I was not allowed to enter the park because I am a registrant and they returned my pass and money. However, they allowed my wife to visit. My money was good enough, but I wasn’t. Anyway, just a heads up.

  • #7712 Reply

    Darrel

    I think the Court just shot down all registry laws with that statement: “…concerned about the application of restrictive laws to citizens who are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system.” Isn’t that what the registries do to people who are no longer under serving a sentence or some form of supervised release? Sex offender registries are nothing more than a continuation of the original sentence by adding another sentence of probation, and depending on the original crime, it is lifetime. That alone violates the Double Jeopardy clause by punishing a person twice for the same crime, although the Supreme Court side stepped that by saying they “see” no punishment in these things. Sorry, but probation by any other name is still probation and that IS a punishment. Plus the fact it doesn’t allow an EX-offender to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, which are inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution are therefore irrevocable for any reason, regardless of the “need” to protect children. The only sure way to protect is that a legitimate offender should be in prison for the rest of his/her life first time every time IF that person truly does molest an innocent as such.

  • #7711 Reply

    RP

    I wonder what can be done about states thst require you to still give them your account name and email associated with it even if they don’t ban you. Then they turn it over the info to the social media site who has a policy banning sex offenders so they delete your account. In effect the state is taking an action they know will bar your free speech.

    One could take it further and say with facial and name recognition software, the online registry could be used by social media to filter out sex offenders and that the state run registry is a tool retarding free speech.

  • #7710 Reply

    Angry in NC

    North Carolina imposes extra sentencing in the form of supervised release (often many years) for those even with low level of felony of sexual offense. The supervised release is pretty much the same as probation, just different wordings.

    People in North Carolina who have been subjected to this unjust supervised release after they have served their sentence need to sue the state for cruel and unjust punishment.

    Often these supervised release or probation results in additional but unrelated offenses because of the conditions of their terms. For example, some of the terms of NC supervised release is you cannot go to a bar, you can not go to a website like twitter, instagram, facebook, Linkedin, etc., you cannot go to a state fair, you have to pay the mandatory monthly fee, etc.

  • #7709 Reply

    Will

    Will this ruling apply to those individuals who live in states where certain sexual offenses, such as those involving children, require the offender to be under the supervision of the state for life? Will this ruling be of any use to those who are subject to community supervision for life laws? I really need to know. Please reply if you know the answer.

  • #7708 Reply

    admin
    Member

    You’re absolutely right and you make a very good argument. I think, however, there may be an achilles heel here for Facebook. It’s a publicly traded company. Therefore, it’s not really a private entity any longer. It is subject to a whole host of regulations and government oversight that makes it more accountable to the public at large–as well as its stockholders–than is true for a closely-held corporation. If we read the opinion of the Court in Packingham, we see Justice Kennedy make the internet analogous to such new and revolutionary “inventions” as the railroads and the telephone (see page 6 of the majority). To the erudite mind (and particularly the legal mind), what one hears him saying is “public utility.” That’s precisely where Kennedy is going in his assessment. And, in truth, if one looks back at the whole panoply of cases concerning the internet (Reno v. ACLU and Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, to name a couple), you see that the Court has been engaged in a protracted discussion with itself about how to treat the internet. Is it a utility or not? Because IF it is a public utility, then it is subject to a heightened standard of review when it comes to its policies regarding access and use. Imagine, if you will, that a registered citizen could be denied access to electricity, or water, or telephone service. That cannot be done, right? And why? Because that would be against the regulatory laws governing public utilities. This question has not been resolved. But the language Kennedy has chosen to use in the Packingham decision definitely places Facebook under a new light of scrutiny. And, if I’m an attorney for Facebook, I may be suggesting it’s time to rethink the policy…..especially since there is no longer any reason to worry about the threat of Attorneys General.

  • #7707 Reply

    I Love The Bill Of Rights

    Constitutional rights are about what the government can and cannot do. They do not apply to private entities. I guarantee that if you come into my living room and call me names or otherwise offend me, you will find your ass quickly kicked out of my house. If I don’t like you, you won’t be coming into my house to begin with to express your opinions. I have the right to do that. This ruling does not force Facebook to allow in sex offenders but it is a huge step in finally putting a leash on the government dogs, a very long leash but a leash nonetheless.

  • #7706 Reply

    Tim L

    If FB is a public Company, that ban is in violation. Kids were not allowed on FB at first, that changed at some point.

    Do you teach your kids to play in the street? Same Same!

    If politicians care about kids they would not run up the debt they will owe as adults. 20 Trillion and counting.

    Please try not to be so nice; Congress is hamburger hill not candyland! They are greedy self serving SOBS PERIOD!

  • #7705 Reply

    Tim L

    I’m in for a hundred USD! What about the rest of you pervs?

  • #7704 Reply

    Tim L

    Personally, I would start with the legislature who wrote the ban into law. Gross violation of what they swore under oath to uphold. Next the Governor who signed it. I would begin by confronting them publicly!

    Shame them as they did you!
    Obviously they do not believe in the state constitution so why should you.
    Ultimately, we the people follow our leadership. Unfortunately our leaders are most!y all criminals.

  • #7703 Reply

    Tim L

    We can hope SCOIL will overturn IL park bans, more likely however they will abdicate their constitutional onus just like THE SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA did in this case.

    SCOTUS decision here 9-0, implies that NC’s SUPREME COURT has NO CLUE when it comes to doing their job interpreting the constitutions’ meaning!

    We have the same problem here in Wisconsin! Judges whom 1) either don’t understand the words in their plain meaning OR
    2) are so blinded thru bias that any reasonable interpretation is not possible.

    This is the burden faced by those indentured to the machines!

    The point is, Our constitution no long actually applies in real time. Basic protections afforded by it are long gone. Therefore, we live in anarchy… or what I have heard referred to as “Corporate Oligarchy”!

    The two groups who most benefitted from SOR: Big Data & Big Jail. Each have their supporting casts! While the biggest loser is LIBERTY FOR ALL!

  • #7702 Reply

    Paul B

    well, now we know the next ball to get rolling. Megan’s law while I will state for the record the law was well intentioned. Just like every law passed in a hurry it is too broad and ruins people’s lives and ability to get good paying jobs as SOR’s are used as a tool of discrimination against former sex offenders and you should only be on the list until you have served your sentence. Once your sentence is done so should your place on the list.

  • #7701 Reply

    Kendal

    This actually makes me wonder if this will do anything for facebook to release their TOS. I am actually considering filing a lawsuit against them for what they did for several reasons.

    1. There is nothing in signing up for facebook that requires you to accept or even read their TOS. Courts have ruled that TOS’s that are not agreed to are not enforceable.

    2. I have suffered commercial damage. I had a page for the liquor store where I work, and the appliance repair shop for the man I live with. Both pages disappeared when they deleted my account.

    So for these two reasons, and now that the Supreme Court has ruled that there is a freedom of speech recourse, I think I could win.

    We’ll have to see.

  • #7700 Reply

    Maestro

    You can thank the former CT AG for starting this social media ban several years ago and he got other states AG’s to follow. That AG, now a CT senator is Richard Blumenthal.
    Here’s what happened in summary-

    AG Richard Blumenthal requested Facebook to go through their inventory of users and boot off anyone listed on the SOR. Facebook declined. Blumenthal then did what he is known for doing – threatening lawsuits. Facebook then did as requested and made it part of their TOS.

    As for the Six Flags thing….what do they do? Check every ID card at the entrance? And when did this happen because in 2011 I went to Six Flags with a friend for the Gay Pride Day event that they host. I bought my ticket in advance via my credit card. Had no issues at the entrance.

  • #7699 Reply

    Registry Rage

    It applies to Megan’s Law as a whole! Chop down the tree and the branches will follow.

  • #7698 Reply

    admin
    Member

    It doesn’t except perhaps in a persuasive way. People on probation or parole are still under a sentencing obligation and are not entitled to the full restoration of their rights until their sentences are complete. However, any conditions of probation or parole that an individual believes to be unreasonable may be challenged through appropriate channels (first, to the supervising officer or his/her superior or, failing that, second, before a court of competent jurisdiction). But ALWAYS abide by whatever restrictions have been imposed by the supervising officer until such time as you have been given notice that you are released from such obligations…otherwise, you risk being violated and sent back to prison.

  • #7697 Reply

    Shon

    Hi guys. I’m so excited and thankful for what God has done for us today. I’m also out of the loop on Snyder and Pepitone cases…can someone please fill me in.

  • #7696 Reply

    Hope N Smith

    How does this ruling affect registrants under supervision who want to study online towards an associates or bachelors degree, if any?

  • #7695 Reply

    Darrin

    The phrase “The Court appeared particularly concerned about the application of restrictive laws to citizens who “are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system” gives me hope as to how it might apply to the International Megan’s Law (International Travel) and also to title IV of the Adam Walsh Act (sponsoring a family member/fiance into the U.S.) I know I’m thinking way ahead, but if true in this case, I would like to think it could prove true there as well. Light is light, no matter how big or small.

    Thank you to all who were involved, and to Mr. Packingham for having the courage to stand!

  • #7694 Reply

    admin
    Member

    YAY Chris!! I was wondering how long it would be before someone noticed that. You are absolutely right. Alito has deliberately chosen to avoid the most useful and recognizable language from McKune. And, the statistic that he cites doesn’t really establish anything at all insofar as recidivism is concerned. He might just as well be saying that someone who has robbed a bank is more likely to rob another bank than someone who has never robbed a bank. Well…DUHH! That’s not persuasive. That’s tautological. So I read Alito’s concurrence as mostly a means to assure his wing’s base that they would have preferred a different outcome but they just didn’t have the numbers and they don’t want to be seen as anti-First Amendment on such a broadly presented question…..namely, what rights do Americans have to internet access and participation in social media AFTER they have completed their criminal sentences? But it is a significant insight into the Court’s internal discussions that the “frightening and high” language has been jettisoned. That may be the biggest win of all in Packingham.

  • #7693 Reply

    Chris

    Something no one has yet mentioned: Although Alito did quote McKune, the specific phrase “frightening and high” was never quoted in either opinion. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a really, REALLY big deal, especially when taking into account Kennedy’s statement about restrictions on those that have already served their sentence. I really think that one statement (that the other four apparently had some level of agreement on) bodes very, very well for the Snyder case.

    Man, God is good! How about we got so much favor that the Supreme Court unanimously rejected NC’s unconstitutional oppression! No arrests, no felonies, nothing! Thank you Jesus!

  • #7692 Reply

    Helene Eschete

    Oh so happy to hear this! Thank you for keeping all informed. Prayers that even more things change for those on the registry.

  • #7691 Reply

    Jeff Jordan

    Of worded that way, yes it could be interpreted that parks are protected for free speech. However that will take another court case to decide. This could be used as evidential case law to use ,however.

  • #7690 Reply

    Kenneth Ackerman

    Re: high recidivism rate
    United States v. Kebodeaux cites Smith, so it is once again put into a Supreme Court Decision. The Packingham attorneys chose not to bring it up in here in order not to embarrass Kennedy. Obviously a win for them. If the court takes Snyder v Michigan that issue will be clear to Alito if he reads that part. It remains a grievous issue to still be resolved at the highest level to keep lower courts and legislators from continuing to believe and cite this as the reason to justify punishment for registrants.

  • #7689 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    “The Court appeared particularly concerned about the application of restrictive laws to citizens who “are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system” ”

    That sure makes the Does v. Snyder case sound promising.

  • #7688 Reply

    Gabriel

    This is very true and I neglected to mention it in my post. For NC: it wouldn’t hurt to contact your SORU and confirm permission, and immediately report any new identifiers in person!

  • #7687 Reply

    admin
    Member

    IMPORTANT NOTE for registered citizens in states that require the disclosure of “online identifiers.” The Packingham case DOES NOT alter any laws related to reporting online identifiers. So, if you decide to go crazy with the creation of social media accounts and you live in a state the requires online identifiers to be disclosed, be sure to follow the precise requirements of your state’s laws on the matter. Don’t assume that anything. Ask and proceed with caution.

  • #7686 Reply

    Gabriel

    This is exciting news and a huge win for registered offenders, not just in NC, but nationwide.

    To my fellow North Carolinians: I contacted my local SORU and got as response a prepared statement that urges registered offenders to please wait to join any social network sites until the SBI can provide instructions to local SORUs on how to manage the influx of new social media accounts being created. While I doubt anyone is expected to wait until the state can create some new, more narrowly-scoped law, they probably want to have procedures and policies in place first. My local SORU said specifically that they will contact offenders in their jurisdiction with instructions once they have clarity on the situation.

    Congratulations to NARSOL, NCRSOL, all the lawyers involved, and Lester Packingham in particular, we owe you all a debt of gratitude and our moral and financial support as you continue to speak up for the rights of registered citizens nationwide!

  • #7685 Reply

    Scott

    This challenge is on the horizon. People v. Pepitone will be heard soon by the IL Supreme Court:

    http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2017/3rdDistrict/3140627.pdf

    In this case a state appellate court ruled the park restrictions to be unconstitutional. In their ruling the appellate found that they sweep to broadly and criminalize innocent conduct. The equivalence to streets and parks will undoubtedly be raised.

  • #7684 Reply

    Mike

    Snyder needs to be next. It applies to ALL RSO’s not just level 1 or 2

  • #7683 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Something else I hadn’t considered in my response:

    “equivalent to streets and parks”

    This decision said this phrase more than once rather than referencing the “public square” as they often do in first amendment cases. If first amendment protections extend to parks, could this be used to strike down park banishment ordinances around the country? My location does not have such an ordinance, but I couldn’t imagine not being able to take my own kids to the park. These are usually local ordinances. If parks are protected avenues of free speech, then these laws are unconstitutional, right? Right???

  • #7682 Reply

    Mary Davye Devoy

    But keep in mind, Face book is a private provider and they currently have a policy that bans ALL RSO’s. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony or if it was 2 months ago or 20 years ago.

    Facebook is legally allowed to prohibit service to who they select, just like Six Flags prohibits all RSO’s.

    So even with this U.S. Supreme Court decision remember in Virginia all nicknames and aliases plus all email addresses of RSO’s must be registered with the Virginia State Police (or face a felony) and then the VSP-IT Department sends those names and addresses to Facebook and if Facebook finds a match they close the account. If that Facebook account was owned by a VA RSO who is under VA-DOC Probation supervision that RSO will face a Probation violation (a felony) if social media or Internet access was prohibited.

    So while this is a real win for arbitrary crimes against RSO’s it does not mean Facebook is going to allow RSO’s to join and not close their accounts.

  • #7681 Reply

    Lovecraft

    After reading and digesting the opinion, all justices ruled in favor 5 unequivocally and 3 somewhat reluctantly (alito, roberts, and thomas)

    Alito was upset with the references to the internet being the public forum of today and that the 5 justices were so easy to give full protection to registrants. He suggested that recividists and high levels registrants could still be targeted. He also cited mckune v lile.

    Alito:
    While I thus agree with the Court that the particular
    law at issue in this case violates the First Amendment, I
    am troubled by the Court’s loose rhetoric. After noting
    that “a street or a park is a quintessential forum for the
    exercise of First Amendment rights,” the Court states that
    “cyberspace” and “social media in particular” are now “the
    most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange
    of views.”

    He further goes on to say:

    But if the entirety of the internet or
    even just “social media” sites16 are the 21st century equiv-
    alent of public streets and parks, then States may have
    little ability to restrict the sites that may be visited by
    even the most dangerous sex offenders. May a State
    preclude an adult previously convicted of molesting chil-
    dren from visiting a dating site for teenagers? Or a site
    where minors communicate with each other about per-
    sonal problems? The Court should be more attentive to the
    implications of its rhetoric for, contrary to the Court’s
    suggestion, there are important differences between cy-
    berspace and the physical world.

    The Court is correct that we should be cautious in apply-
    ing our free speech precedents to the internet. Ante, at 6.
    Cyberspace is different from the physical world, and if it is
    true, as the Court believes, that “we cannot appreciate
    yet” the “full dimensions and vast potential” of “the Cyber
    Age,” ibid., we should proceed circumspectly, taking one
    step at a time. It is regrettable that the Court has not
    heeded its own admonition of caution.

    Everyone seemed to think this: (below was reiterated several times in both opinions)

    Second, the Court assumes
    that the First Amendment permits a State to enact specific, narrow-
    ly-tailored laws that prohibit a sex offender from engaging in conduct
    that often presages a sexual crime, like contacting a minor or using a
    website to gather information about a minor.

    Based on the above being suggested so frequently its my opinion this is how they are suggesting to states on how to deal with this issue….which imo is great for us.

  • #7680 Reply

    Jim

    Thank God! Every victory is significant, and it is encouraging to see an 8-0 vote from SCOTUS. There are many battles yet to be endured, but this ruling certainly increases hope that change will come for those of us on the registry.

  • #7679 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Things are looking up. If the highest court in the land can rule unanimously in favor of registrants and against the state, that is very good sign.

  • #7678 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Most of us have been (im)patiently waiting for this decision for quite a while now. I am actually glad that Justice Kennedy, the same one who quoted the false statistic in Smith v. Doe, was the one who penned the majority opinion. One thing of note in the majority opinion is a parenthetic clause on page 8 that states:

    (Of importance, the troubling fact that the law
    imposes severe restrictions on persons who already have
    served their sentence and are no longer subject to the
    supervision of the criminal justice system is also not an
    issue before the Court.)

    This seems to me like an invitation from Justice Kennedy and the four who joined his opinion to challenge the registry on its face. I say we accept that invitation as soon as we have the opportunity to do so. In my view, Justice Kennedy is trying to redeem himself and make it right.

    The concurring opinion had some troubling remarks in it though. While I agree with their assessment that the court did not give clear guidelines on what they could do, that could have been by design since the passage I just quoted suggest that those five justices are ready to rule in our favor against any restriction imposed on us after our sentences and government supervision is complete.

    What bothered me most about the separate opinion though is their reliance on statements made during McKune v. Lile. This decision was brought up at least three times quoting misleading information again after being shown through briefs how this information is inaccurate or misleading.at best.

    One thing the court did not address, however, is the policy of social networking to ban registrants. While I understand this was not the question presented to the court, I wish it had been addressed. With that said though, if these sites try to deny access, could this case be used to claim they are denying first amendment rights? This might require another case.

    This is a big win for us on the advocacy side. Thank you, NARSOL, for helping lead the charge in our efforts.

  • #7677 Reply

    Dave

    Unanimously striking down means constitutional violations did occur to citizens in North Carolina stick it to those bastards and sue.

  • #7676 Reply

    Ryan

    Finally I can be on LinkedIn. Finally I can start to live like a human. Key word being “start”. This is a big win for us that sets precedent across the country. Now we need a win in the Michigan case and I will have my faith in humanity restored

Reply To: Packingham: Unanimous Court strikes NC’s social media ban
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