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California

CA: Registrant on Parole Challenges Social Media Ban

A lawsuit was filed today in federal court on behalf of a registrant who is on parole in order to challenge a parole condition that prohibits him from accessing all social media. Defendants in the case include the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Secretary of CDCR and his parole officer.

“Many registrants on parole are unlawfully being denied access to social media,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have determined that similar denials violate the First Amendment.”

The plaintiff in this case resides in the City of Los Angeles and was convicted of a sex offense in 2008. He was sentenced to prison and is currently on parole in the state of California. The plaintiff did not use any part of the internet, including social media, to commit his offense.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff wishes to use social media in order to share the music he creates as well as to communicate with others his political issues including the right to vote. Social media is “perhaps the most powerful mechanism available to a private citizen to make his or her voice be heard”, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The rights of all registrants to access social media is the focus of the case filed today,” stated ACSOL President Chance Oberstein.

Join the discussion

  1. courage!!

    I am not sure if this would make any difference Facebook STILL deny RC to communicate with others his political issues including the right to vote. I think Facebook should be part of the lawsuit as well.

    • Chris F

      Facebook, as a business, has a right to protect it’s customers from someone dangerous enough to be listed on a public registry and doesn’t have the resources to look into each person, or leave itself open to a lawsuit if they made exceptions and guessed wrong.

      The correct fight is against the State Of California for violating Substantive Due Process by including people on the list without an individual determination if they are dangerous or for how long and without it being a part of the original trial and sentencing. After all, they don’t have to make the list public, provide the private email addresses to Facebook, or provide it to the US Government to trigger IML, government assisted housing denial, denial of jobs, and causing registrants to be subjected to literally thousands of laws against them across the country.

      • Tim Moore

        A correction: Facebook doesn’t say you can’t use its service if you are a registered sex offender, it says you can’t use its service if you are a convicted sex offender. The difference is they are trying to include people even off the registry, people the government says are no longer dangerous, who are not listed.

        • J

          Tim ,
          are you sure on this ? I am a registered offender, but not a convicted offender ( adj. with-held ), so IO have NO criminal record

      • Josh James

        FB is the source/mechanism of many crimes. It is not accountable for anything since it is a simply a middleman for people to connect. I don’t see why FB would care of registrants were on there. They already have rules in place for bad behaviors and they would just carry on with those rules.

      • cool CA RC

        Facebook is no longer a PRIVATE business. It is a public business.
        Pls read California law

        (2) Except as authorized under paragraph (1) or any other provision of law, use of any information that is disclosed pursuant to this section for purposes relating to any of the following is prohibited:

        (A) Health insurance.

        (B) Insurance.

        (C) Loans.

        (D) Credit.

        (E) Employment.

        (F) Education, scholarships, or fellowships.

        (G) Housing or accommodations.

        (H) Benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business establishment.

        http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?chapter=5.5.&part=1.&lawCode=PEN&title=9.

        • CR

          How does the statute define “business establishment”?

          Does prohibition (H) apply to every business establishment that is doing business in CA, regardless of where it is incorporated? I ask because, while FB is headquartered in CA, it is incorporated in Delaware. I’m just wondering if that gives them an out, or if the law would apply anyway.

          Also, what is the penalty for violating the prohibition?

        • AJ

          @cool CA RC:
          Facebook is no longer a PRIVATE business. It is a public business.
          —–
          Methinks you’re confusing the legal terms “private” and “public.” Private is anything run by one or more citizens; public is anything run by the Government (at whatever level). Unless CA has “nationalized” FB, it remains a private business….that’s publicly traded.

        • cool CA RC

          I guess then the RSO would have to buy at least 51% share of FB to make this changes.

          but whatever..

        • cool CA RC

          How does the statute define “business establishment”?

          Does prohibition (H) apply to every business establishment that is doing business in CA, regardless of where it is incorporated? I ask because, while FB is headquartered in CA, it is incorporated in Delaware. I’m just wondering if that gives them an out, or if the law would apply anyway.

          Also, what is the penalty for violating the prohibition?

          I think this is one of those laws that have no teeth. All bark not teeth to enforce it . From what I understand FB have money to spend on legal stuff and could wipe us by outspending easily.

        • Joe

          @AJ – looks like the confusing terms are “privately held” and “publicly traded”. Given that Facebook is the latter, why would a RC who cares enough simply not buy a share of FB ($198.31 at this very moment), and then see if the company bans their owners from utilizing the very service they “own”. Just a thought…

  2. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    YES YES YES!

    Social media is “perhaps the most powerful mechanism available to a private citizen to make his or her voice be heard.”

    I agree 100% with this. CDCR’s ban on social media is an attempt to chill free speech. It is also an attempt by CDCR to keep registrants from posting potentially harmful — but truthful — comments that challenge the tyranny of CDCR, its “treatment” contractor, and its often tyrannical parole agents. When CDCR bans a parolee from using a computer and/or social media, even after he/she has served time in prison, make no mistake that it is *not* in the interest of ‘public safety.’ Public safety is only the excuse they use so that the masses are kept uninformed of the injustices that happen behind closed doors.

  3. David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

    Personally, I think that Facebook’s best days may be behind it. Young people are abandoning it in droves and I think that’s wonderful. I look forward to the day when they are largely irrelevant and we will wonder why we wanted to join. I say, let’s just turn it into a boycott.

    I’d like to think that their approach to us “dangerous” “sex offenders” might play a part in making them less attractive to those who don’t want such maternalistic “protection.” Many people now see them as ‘get-up-in-your-business’ busybodies and find Mark Zuckerberg to be a self-righteous know-it-all, something I’ve always felt, so it’s great to see Millennials, and those even younger, finally abandoning him.

    “Facebook lost around 2.8 million U.S. users under 25 last year. 2018 won’t be much better.
    That’s according to research firm eMarketer.” https://www.recode.net/2018/2/12/16998750/facebooks-teen-users-decline-instagram-snap-emarketer

    • AJ

      @David Kennerly:
      I’m in lock-step with your regarding FB and Zuck. I have no time for it, and he always has that smug look that makes we want to punch him–and I’m not a violent person. If you didn’t see the Photoshopping of him into being Data while testifying before Congress, I highly recommend searching for “Zuck Data meme.” Hilarious, and an uncanny resemblance!

    • CR

      I’m happy to see that FB is losing market share and popularity among social media users. I’ve always disliked Zuckerberg and his insistence that people should be known on the internet by their real names. His anti-anonymity stance is and has always been about making it possible for FB to harvest and sell the personal data of its users to marketers, and to present a ready audience of “marks” to businesses and, as we now know, to State and political actors who seek to sway public opinion and incite action to further their own ends.

      Unfortunately, one of the platforms FB users are flocking to is Instagram, which is also owned by FB.

      I’ve always disliked the FB business model, and all social media platforms that resemble it. I boycott them all. I really have no interest in living my live in a glass house.

    • Registered Citizen

      It really doesn’t matter if FB is “losing market share” or “young people are flocking to…”

      FB has become the defacto public commons, an important place in cyberspace to which we are denied access. A place where people associate freely and share news and views.

      It’s as if newspapers suddenly decided a RSO would not be allowed to buy or read the news.

      In China, a system of social “credit scoring” has begun. In some cases, if the score is low enough, the individual can’t even eat in a restaurant and that score can be affected by who one associates with, not just the individuals own behavior.

      This isn’t much different from the registry.

  4. mike r

    Yep, this suit has an uphill battle, especially applied to parolees. If it is blanket enforcement than it is not going to pass muster and they will have to tailor it to individuals. It is amazing how parolees seem to have more rights then free citizen RCs. Even then like everyone states: FB can deny if they want so you would have to sue them. Maybe, but good luck….

  5. courage!!

    Read the law in Calfornia code

    (2) Except as authorized under paragraph (1) or any other provision of law, use of any information that is disclosed pursuant to this section for purposes relating to any of the following is prohibited:

    (A) Health insurance.

    (B) Insurance.

    (C) Loans.

    (D) Credit.

    (E) Employment.

    (F) Education, scholarships, or fellowships.

    (G) Housing or accommodations.

    (H) Benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business establishment.

  6. Edie

    Once again, a huge difference between No. Cal and So. Cal. My son’s parole agent said he was free to explore whatever he chooses for both social and employment networking purposes, again going to a “crime” that involved neither a minor or the internet. While he is banned from Facebook and has no desire to join up (since it’s becoming the “old people’s site”), LinkedIn has been incredibly valuable in helping him advance his career. We frankly are not seeing the corruption within the CDCR here in the Bay Area as you are down south. Something fishy definitely going on down there….. If anyone can change it, Janice certainly can!!

    • NPS

      Completely agree, Edie. I was adjudicated in Orange County and I had my probation and case transferred to San Francisco County. Just prior to my transfer, the head of probation was a “see you next Tuesday” and she threatened to put me back in jail during my initial interview. Why? Because she didn’t like my answers to her questions. I guess she expected me to grovel.

      When I transferred to SF, it was a night and day difference. The PO crossed out all of the restrictions OC required. I remember her rolling her eyes as she read the restrictions. All SF required was that I show up on time for my appointments. She even said, “you’re not someone I have to worry about.” I never once received a home visit, and they were nothing but professional during our monthly meetings. They were also in full support of my terminating probation early. I’ve long been off paper with an expunged record. Again, no issues living in the Bay Area. I highly doubt I’d achieve the successes I’ve made had I stayed in SoCal.

      • Edie

        Not to downplay So Cal, because I’m from there, but having lived in both, the overall mentality of the population up here is that of professionalism, rationalization, and acceptance. Well, except for that wacko Michelle Dauber, who has zero peers at Stanford that agreed with her campaign. Our No. Cal is filled with creative and open minds who are changing the entire world via the forward thinking attitudes and innovation coming out of the Silicon Valley. I have followed Janice & Co. since day 1 in anticipation of a world full of family and personal challenges involving my son, Calif’s newest registrant since last Fall. Other than the humiliating Halloween home sweep, the travel restrictions, and the GPS injustice, it has been far better than what was expected. Just sayin’…..

      • Anonymous

        I did my parole term in Sacramento county, and during that time there were a few guys who had transferred there from down south. And they were shocked at how different it was. No curfews, no restriction on porn or alcohol, basically if you followed the rules you were left alone except for your monthly visits. Some did have those restrictions I mentioned, but it was related to their actual case, you know, common sense.

        They basically concentrated their resources on parolee’s who were trouble makers, and left everybody else alone. In my case, I had an alcohol restriction, only because there was drinking at the time of the offence, though nobody was drunk or even tipsy. I had never actually been drunk in my life. I had asked my PO if it was possible to lift this restriction, not because I wanted to drink, only because it was annoying to do the pee test once a month. In the office, he said unfortunately he couldn’t, only because alcohol was mentioned in the report. Then he says, “come with me.” He walks me outside, and I get a little nervous as to what is going on. Turns out he didn’t want to be overheard in the office. He looks at me and says, go ahead and drink one or two times a month, I don’t give a f***, just don’t get caught by another agent / officer or have alcohol in your house. Then he turns away and walks back in.

        • AO

          It various county by county, and even judge by judge. While I was on probation in NorCal I had a standard no alcohol clause. This wasn’t anything remotely close to my offense nor have I had any history of alcohol abuse. Heck, I don’t really even drink alcohol in general. But another in guy in our group was transferred up from SoCal and he had no such clause. It really seems how lazy the people are at the time of deciding your case in terms of what form they want to use.

    • Follow The Money

      A lot of the corruption, at least in my opinion, is driven by the sex offender “treatment” schemes. Sharper Future type programs in which parole agents listen to “doctors” who are products of California School of Psychology, Alliant University, Chicago School of Professional Psychology (not to be confused with the prestigious University of Chicago), The Wright Institute, etc. The CDCR agents then use the excuse of the “professional opinion” of the fake doctors — fake doctors who usually exaggerate — to exercise their government authority to impose even more burdens on the parolees.

      Not a diss at these schools, as some fine psychologists have graduated from one of the above. But I can only name Karen Franklin as only one decent doctor. Nonetheless, when parole agents are under constraint to use fake sciences such as polygraph, Static-99… then listen to opinions of “doctors” who are fundamentally skewed by the pseudo doctrines of “forensic psychology,” as well as the necessity for overcriminalization, then we have a civil rights disaster that is ever-worsening.

  7. yepppp

    I used to be on parole here in San Diego, well I had the same lame condition, did I follow it ? Nope I was on the internet everyday… its called wifi,Turning Wifi ID Name OFF, and a laptop, that easily folds close and is easily hide-able 🙂 Ohh yea along with… When they show up… well I had proximity sensors for that to haha easily called a early warning system to know when someone was in a place they shouldnt be haha

    Its called beating then at their OWN GAME LOL…

    • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

      I kept my computer in the downstairs apartment (which I controlled but they didn’t know that) and only kept a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse upstairs in different rooms – unconnected when I wasn’t using them. Drilled holes in the closet floor for cable extensions for the keyboard, monitor and mouse, covered up the connectors with velcro’d carpet when not in use and which could be disconnected and covered over in a matter of seconds, used an innocuous little connector with a straight-across short to complete the power connection for boot-up and, voila! I had my computer and could work from home. They may have thought it odd that I had a monitor, keyboard and mouse that were obviously not in use (so they thought) but they never said anything on their Task Force visits. That was parole, many, many years ago.

      • yepppp

        Thats funny haha I even had a PO that noticed my desk was cleared off and made a mention, but I pretended i didnt know what she was talking about…. she was a lil smart… (yea I had a LAPTOP there just a minute before ahah)! but hey they cant violate you on a assumption but then again they base thier whole system on what you MIGHT DO… i told this to a PO once, said yea I MIGHT rob a bank, but you cant get me on a might…. I even told one right out she threw me under the bus, but it almost BIT her, I had to call records (she and her CO WORKER gave thier #)… well records called her supervisor, the po called me said the SUP wanted me to come in about calling records, I said yea ok but ill tell the SUP that you and your co worker gave me thier #… well all the sudden tone changed and said I dont have to see the SUP so i was gunna rat her out haha, it goes both ways… parole isnt superior, mostly they are TRASH and BULLY’s just like school cept the lame state pays for them to be bulllys ! they dont do HOME VISITS to REGULAR PAROLEES here but they sure visit 290’s cause they know where u are… (GPS TAG)…

  8. Joe

    Is federal supervised release the same as parole? This guy caught my eye…

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-sd/pr/california-man-sentenced-30-months-failure-register-sex-offender

    Was convicted of Sexual Battery (at age 17 from the ML web site, mind you) in 2000, served less than a year, if any, of incarceration, now convicted of Failure to Register and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, *followed by supervised release for the remainder of life*.

    Does that mean he can be prohibited from accessing Social Media for the rest of his life? For an offense from 18 years ago, which for all intents and purposes could / should be a misdemeanor – at a time when there was no such thing as Social Media, and barely an internet?

    Along with the loss of voting rights and the right to be protected from unwarranted search and seizure etc etc – for a lifetime? Wow. Is it?

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