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Appellate Court Affirms Decision to Block Enforcement of Prop. 35 Requirements

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)

Related:

Nov 19

Prop 35 Proponents Call 9th Circuit Court Ruling a Disappointment
Convicted sex offenders, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the First Amendment

Nov 18

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/California-court-blocks-offenders-reporting-duties-5901370.php
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sex-offenders-20141118-story.html
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-18/california-can-t-enforce-rules-tracking-sex-offenders-online-1-.html
http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2014/11/ninth-circuit-upholds-injunction-on-first-amendment-grounds-blocking-california-law-requiring-sex-of.html

 

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Whewwwwwwww..!….Thank You EFF, ACLU, Janice BELLUCCI and staff ….its a HomeRun for our Constitution and everyone’s civil rights …thank NinthCircuitCourt for supporting and Defending the Constitution.

Yes! A win for registrants … it’s a good Tuesday.

Thank you Janice Bellucci!

The real issue is how under the color of law (The Registry) rights are easily violated against those registered citizens that have completed their probation and parole. The nature of the registry encourages local politicians to enact ordinances that violate the rights of these citizens. Case in Point: All registered citizens were banned from Orange County Parks, beaches and harbors by an ordinance passed by The Board of Orange County Supervisors on April 5th, 2011. Later the California Supreme Court supported a lower courts rulings that stated they were unconstitutional. Why even have a draconian registry for people that have… Read more »

I like this part “The requirement applies to all registered sex offenders, regardless of their offense, their history of recidivism (or lack thereof), or any other relevant circumstance.” Hopefully that same thinking will be used in future decisions.

wooohoooo… THank you!

Not exactly the win I was looking for. Appears they left eh door open for the state to amend the law to make it constitutional.

I just consulted with a friend who told me the very same thing. It’s a little upsetting to know an amendment can be made in such a way as to make it pass a constitutionality test. Luckily, the lawmakers I’ve seen so far demonstrate they know nothing of the constitution, so i think we are safe as far as that goes.

But like all lower life forms, these kinds of politicians may gradually evolve over time into much more effective creatures designed to prey on registered citizens.

The ruling does not “leave the door open” for future laws: rulings only address the law at issue: they cannot speculate about all possible permutations of a law. The ruling, did, essentially, ban any permutation of this law.

So doe’s this mean that I can have a facebook account with family and friends to interact with or invite them to play video games with?

No, Facebook specifically bans sex offenders in their terms of service. They’re a private company and there’s no law that prevents them from establishing rules that exclude sex offenders from being granted accounts. Now if they tried to discriminate based on race, gender, religion or marital status it might be a different situation… Unfortunately RSO’s aren’t a constitutionally protected class (usually quite the opposite in fact!) You can try to get away with creating an account and posting, but if someone complains of they catch you they’ll disable your account and redirect your homepage to say you were banned because… Read more »

You are incorrect. They are now a publicly traded company. Just buy some shares and then they can’t legally restrict you from using its services.

Then let’s SUE !!

Why sue a company like Facebook, who publicly acknowledges they use all teh information you provide them, to do as they wish with it. Those so called “privacy” settings are a joke, they can on a moments’ notice make changes to their policies. There is no true deletion of data. We just saw it with Twitter today. While people were told they can delete their tweets and poof, they were gone.. truth is they are now searchable as of today, per a massive trending piece of news in the technology world. Any tweet anyone has ever tweeted, including deleted tweets… Read more »

Hmmm…by that logic then if I own a single share of Disney stock I should be free to use their characters in any manner I please, print and sale T-Shirts, stuffed characters, mickey cakes, use them in my own movies or literature I publish, perform any of their songs without having the pay royalties…

I don’t think that’s the way the it actually works. Sorry.

Thank ypu Mike!

Think about this!! If the tiered registry system does go in effect and one day you do “fall off” the registry … you are no longer considered a Sex Offender, correct? That would mean you could THEN have a Facebook account …. love that idea!

Congrats!! Janice, CA RSOL, ACLU and EFF, this is big.

Thank you California RSOL (Janice), San Francisco ACLU and The Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Thank you.

Wow – I really needed to hear this!!

Boy, I came home feeling I was coming down with something, and then I got this news. I feel great all of a sudden! Whew. Now I don’t have to comply with a law I never understood, and never applied to me. Geez, They didn’t even want my email address or other identifiers (whatever those are) when I was on probation. A blow against ex post facto punishment!

VICTORY DANCE !!!

Hallelu-freakin-Jah. Being honest, I don’t think there is any way I could have conformed to meet the expectations this law entailed. I probably have hundreds of online accounts that I have forgotten about. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Many stores offer discounts or “Club Offers” when you sign up with your e-mail address and I’m not one to turn down a discount. I honestly hope this precedent can be used by civil rights activists in other states where they’re experiencing these “Freedom of speech” issues. Many thanks to all, including the Ninth circuit, who put an end to… Read more »

Thank you, Janice!

Thank you Janice. This one had me worried. I have no idea just how many web sites I am subscribed to or what my user names or passwords are to many of those sites. I hope that Facebook changes their Terms of Service as many public and private services require a Facebook membership.

If this part of the law had not been struck down it would have added an element of danger for citizens posting on this site in my opinion. Who knows what repercussions would have ensued when a registered citizen’s probation or parole officer became privy to the comments left on this site by their parolee or probationer. I find that frightening to consider.

This is the MOST SIGNIFICANT VICTORY so far in the United States for registrants. I personally will spend tomorrow researching EVERY case I can find in the country that involves email or internet violation, locating the attorneys in those cases, and TELEPHONING their offices to let them know of this decision. This is HUGE.

Finally: I was extremely worried about this decision. Only 425 or so days since the case was heard.

I love when I can check this site and get some good news instead of simply raising my already dangerously high blood pressure!

I tiny bit of hope has been ignited in my otherwise hopeless soul.

Thank you for your efforts Janice (and others). At least on a state level we have some protection here in California that others are not as fortunate to have.

Well, this is another example of Judges making the right decision. As I have mentioned before, the race isn’t always won by the swiftest or fastest, but by those who keep running. I just hate it when I hear someone complaining or stating how terrible life is! 2-3 years ago, we where banned from parks, beaches, movie theaters and God knows where else! Things have changed drastically. Furthermore, just imagine what might have been next if these laws had stuck! Banned from driving? Going out a night? I suggest people continue to support RSOL and commend Janice for all the… Read more »

I have developed a system of influencing that if taken to heart and acted on will make a difference at city, county, state and federal levels. Forgive me and my lacking towards defining what resources are available to you via your local hair salons and barber shops. These people are directly in touch with voters …they are the boots on the ground. How can you use their relationships with community to promote our rights in this war? What does a hairstylist and barber value most? Their cutting tools. If you determine to sharpen their scissors for free stating (XYZ politician)… Read more »

Great News! Thank you Janice!

I just finished reading the court’s decision in it’s entirety and must say I’m more hopeful now than ever before of seeing significant change in the future in the form of legal relief for registered citizens. The judges were correct to view and treat this portion of Prop. 35 as an attack on the first amendment protections of registrants. Reading the court’s reasons for reaching their decision almost makes me feel as though the constitution actually does apply to EVERYONE, no matter how unpopular they may be in society. I especially admire the court for rightfully stating “[T]he First Amendment… Read more »

Janice,

Is it possible that the state assembly and the Governor will simply sign “emergency legislation” that invalidates the court’s decision as they did in the “People vs. Douglas” case? Please tell me that can’t happen?

I read the decision earlier. The Court of Appeals made note, in the footnotes, that this case was distinguished from Doe v Shurtleff due to the 24-hour requirement, and that there was no restriction against law enforcement publicly disclosing. Utah was also under a permanent injunction. But, then they amended the law after the judges decision, to make it so internet identifiers could not be disclosed to the public. They then asked the judge to VACATE her Injunction based on the changes made to the law, and she agreed that it was no longer unconstitution al. Based on the language… Read more »

JohnDoeUtah:

Thank you for pointing out that freedom of speech is chilled by the requirement to relinquish anonymity to the government. The constitution exists to protect citizens from the overreach of the government; by requiring registered citizens to essentially sign their names to everything they say online, we are being robbed of an essential constitutional protection – the fact that disclosure to the public is irrelevant is a subtle yet important distinction.

Alexander Hamilton and James Madison used the name, “Publius,” when writing The Federalist Papers, not because they feared the public – but because they feared the British Crown (government). Thus, why the courts have recognized the right to ANONYMOUS free speech.

I fear the public and the government, because they are the same thing when you wea the scarlet letter. The Bill of Rights was to keep popular laws from trampling individual rights. Some of the founders foresaw the tyranny of the majority, and fortunately had enough agreement to amended the Constitution to help protect against that eventuality. I’m all for democracy, as long as it is based on each individual having an inherent right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and those can’t be abridged simply because a majority wishes it so.

So does this mean that when I register that I don’t have to give them my email address

The government cannot require you to provide them with your E-mail address. This fact was established in November 2012 when the federal district court granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the case. The same court later extended the TRO to a preliminary injunction (PI) which was appealed to this court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the PI. During an interview today on KPCC, the radio host asked me if the appellate court’s decision would be appealed further. I answered that such an appeal would be foolish becuase those who supported Prop. 35 have already lost two… Read more »

I wish these judges could sit in at the California Supreme Court next month!

WOW man! You guys are so lucky! I wish we would have the same thing here in Florida. Hopefully California can lead the way for other States and can use these examples of your California court cases to the courts here in Florida. They just recently passed a law here in Florida that we have to hand over Internet Identifiers to Law enforcement just last month- October. Anyhow, My congratulations to you all there.

Stop ‘wishing’ and get active (if you’re not already) wherever you are, however you can! Many unconstitutional and outright idiotic laws across the nation related to RC’s have been enacted, but gone unchallenged. When an even blatantly bad law goes unchallenged, it stays on the books. California is incredibly fortunate to have CARSOL, Janice Bellucci, as well as support from ACLU in the present case. This is not to say that every stupid/oppressive law can be successfully turned back, but no matter where RC’s and supporters of just and fair laws reside, find a group like CARSOL and get busy… Read more »

Thank you so much, Janice et al! I’m shocked that the court upheld our rights..I live in Nevada and the 9th circuit sided with the state a few years ago on a RSO case that really screwed life up. This is big time and I’m so happy that you made this victory happen. Thanks again!

As usual the DOJ is behind in their posting of current information. Seems their RED lettered heading on their website still hasn’t been updated to reflect the current decision. Their ending sentence, “… until further notice.” HA, FURTHER NOTICE HAS BEEN DELIVERED!! “Welcome to the California Department of Justice’s official Internet web site, which lists designated registered sex offenders in California. ATTENTION: FEDERAL COURT ENJOINS COLLECTION OF E-MAIL AND SOCIAL NETWORKING INFORMATION ON REGISTRATION FORMS. On January 11, 2013, a federal court enjoined the Attorney General and law enforcement agencies from collecting information pertaining to e-mail addresses, internet service providers,… Read more »

HAHAHA What a joke that is…

You can bet that if it had not been upheld and we were required to give that information within 24 hours that they would find as many officers as needed to arrest everyone of us who failed to make that 24 hour deadline!

BUT

Since it was NOT in their favor they will take their sweetass time updating the website themselves!

Are there any other US circuit court decisions that are in agreement with or contrary to this ruling? All SORNA states (and a few non-SORNA states) collect Internet identifiers and in most cases they have been held as constitutional by their state court systems. A circuit court split or agreement would go a long way towards sending this issue to SCOTUS.

In one county i used to live in, the registering office is only open 2 hours, just one day a week. In order to comply with this law, a person would only be allowed to get an internet identifier within 24 hours of Thursday between 8:30 and 10:30am and then be sure to check in then. Otherwise, they are in automatic violation. Oh, and former detective E_ F______ would threaten me with 2 years of prison for the slightest reason. Thankfully, he recently got demoted to a Sargent and it is my understanding he won’t go anywhere in public without… Read more »

This is really good news. Ex-offenders rights to free speech are especially important to counter the constant barrage of comments from the internet commenting vigilante-minded “kill ’em all, castrate them, shoot them on sight, one bullet, problem solved” crowd who also lie, or which is probably less likely are ignorant, about recidivism rates, to justify that kind of commenting. It may be just a few people doing these comments , but they really put it out there. For someone who doesn’t follow these issues, that kind of constant propaganda could really influence someone to believe the outright lies. I hope… Read more »

This is great news, excellent news a good thing but things can change tomorrow. I read the related story dated Nov. 19 about RSO’s & JW’s and our constitution. Good story but very depressing for me, I was raised as a JW in my early years and do remember the rocks thrown at our door late at night because we were different. Most people do not know what the JW’s did that gave all more freedoms which many religions ENJOY today and yet they are still a hated group and of course not by the vast majority one would hope,… Read more »

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