ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Los Angeles last week on behalf of a California registrant who is on parole. According to the lawsuit, the registrant is being denied the ability to access social media as well as to attend and participate in church services.
Subsequent to the filing of the complaint, the ACLU filed an application for a Preliminary Injunction this week. A hearing on the PI application will be held on November 27 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 9C in the U.S. District Court, Central District, 350 West First Street, in Los Angeles before Judge Dean Pregerson.
“We commend the ACLU for its efforts to protect the civil rights of a registrant in California,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.
According to the lawsuit, the parole restrictions in question are not related to the offenses for which the plaintiff was convicted. That is, the offenses did not take place at a church and did not involve use of social media. The ACLU has argued that the parole restrictions violate several clauses within the First Amendment, including freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.
ACLU’s involvement in the case began in June 2017 when the organization sent a letter on behalf of the registrant to officials of the Division of Adult Parole (DAPO) stating that the restrictions at issue violated the U.S. Constitution. The complaint claims that subsequent to receipt of that letter, parole agents have retaliated against the registrant by increasing compliance checks and searches of the registrant’s personal property including his phone and computer. In addition, the complaint claims that parole agents told the registrant to “leave the ACLU alone.”
The Defendants in the case — Jerry Powers, Karen Thacker, Douglas Broome and Sean Wilson — are employed by DAPO, the agency which supervises all parolees in the state of California. All are being sued in their official capacities.