The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed the decision of a federal district court to block enforcement of Proposition 35 requirements that all registered citizens provide a list of any and all Internet identifiers as well as any and all Internet service providers to law enforcement. California RSOL is a plaintiff in this case and was represented by the San Francisco ACLU as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
According to the decision, the requirements violate the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in at least three ways: (1) the requirements do not make clear what sex offenders are required to report, (2) there are insufficient safeguards preventing the public release of the information sex offenders do report and (3) the 24-hour reporting requirement s onerous and overbroad.
“This is a significant victory for all registered citizens in California,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “The 9th Circuit of Appeals has clearly articulated that the requirements, if imposed, would violate the U.S. Constitution.”
The Court noted in it decision that the 24-hour reporting requirement of adding or changing an Internet identifier or an account with an Internet service provider is “not only onerous, it is also applied in an across-the-board fashion. The requirement applies to all registered sex offenders, regardless of their offense, their history of recidivism (or lack thereof), or any other relevant circumstance.”
In reaching its decision, the Court noted that the balance of equities in the case favor registered citizens “whose First Amendment rights are being chilled. This is especially so because the Act under scrutiny imposes criminal sanctions for failure to comply.”
Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Anonymous Speech in California Prop. 35 Case (Thanks EFF)
Opinion (Full Opinion, or view below)