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Packingham v. North Carolina – Oral Argument February 27

Issue: Whether, under the court’s First Amendment precedents, a law that makes it a felony for any person on the state’s registry of former sex offenders to “access” a wide array of websites – including Facebook, YouTube, and – that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is “know[n]” to allow minors to have accounts, is permissible, both on its face and as applied to petitioner, who was convicted based on a Facebook post in which he celebrated dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring “God is Good!”

Case Documents and Details

Join the discussion

  1. deejaytee

    Is it a pertinent development that the new POTUS pretty much governs via Twitter and Facebook and shows no signs of giving up his toilet tweeting?

    And the latest amici briefs continue to regurgitate the “frightening and high” nonsense. Sad!

    • Jack

      Stop talking like him please! Ha I’m sure Janice needs a break.

    • T

      Like what Josef Goebbels who was a Nazi Propaganda minister said ” If you create a story, keep it simple, keep repeating it, and eventually people will believe it”, Just like in order to pass these draconian sex offender laws, they present a story about a heinous sex offense and even doesn’t even have to be true, present it to the public, keep repeating the stories no matter how true and audacious it is to create hysteria and eventually they will believe it and support passing these laws.

  2. G4Change

    How is it legal for the government, in briefs to the SCOTUS, to LIE about reoffense rates???? Is is ridiculous!

  3. Chris F

    I’ve read those last two briefs listed supporting North Carolina and it doesn’t look good for us.

    If the defendant doesn’t cut down Smith V Doe and Connecticut Dept of Transportation “frightening and high” crap we are in trouble. They also need to attack how this prevents free association and raising our own kids if we can’t use facebook.

    They also need to bring up how the law only punishes law abiding Sex Offenders because those that want to molest children again won’t have a problem creating a fake email address to create a fake facebook page and there won’t be a way to catch them until its too late.

    I wish this weren’t just one defendant but a class action so that less serious sex offenders would be involved and demonstrate how over-inclusive this is and how judges have been removed from the equation of ruling who should be treated like this.

    • Chris F

      One more thing…in one of those recent briefs for North Carolina, they have the nerve to mention that it’s ok on probation/parole as a condition to prohibit Social Media and/or Internet Access so it should be fine for legislature to prohibit it too.

      NO! Under Probation/Parole it has to follow the rules of being legitimately related to the crime and you have methods of appeal as well as time in front of a judge. The legislature bypasses ALL of that and applies it to everyone with a “sex offense” for an arbitrary length of time unrelated to potential dangerousness.

      If someone doesn’t point this out to SCOTUS, then these lawyers failed miserably!

  4. Επισκέπτης

    Facebook, Twitter, et al should be avoided like the plague. Google the subject, and you will discover that social media has driven down the intelligence expenses of law enforcement, the FBI and the CIA. Like Adobe (known for the PDF file format), the government will never let Twitter and Facebook go out of business.

  5. PK

    I like how the Government Respondent uses Sex Offender and Sexual Predator interchangeably.

  6. PK

    The First Amendment time, place, and manner test leaves States some lati-
    tude to decide how best to protect the public from habitual sex offenders.

    Habitual Sex Offenders? Was that a misprint on their AMICI CURIAE Brief?

  7. Paul

    I do enjoy the interchangable use of “sexual predator”, and “sexual offender”….last I checked, the law actually did differentiate between the two! Stupid me!

  8. RP

    There is a compelling case to be made, that in today’s world that even the president uses social media as a way to communicate effectively to people. It is the new town square. In fact, how many town squares have parks that sex offenders are bared from.

  9. Robert

    I find it to be quite favorable to us that the government has chosen to base their case argument on the old established falsehoods. Far too many state attorney generals have been winning challenges by quoting the 2003 SCOTUS decisions and omitting up to date studies. This is changing in federal courts and will soon change in the high court as well. I believe we will prevail on this case.
    Question: If we do prevail on this case, would this open facebook up to a legal challenge for their ban on registered citizens?

    • New Person

      Janice or someone else that can associate with the SCOTUS level lawyers can easily hand over a copy of Dr. Ellman’s “Frightening and High” paper that identifies just how false “Frightening and High” is as well as the continued use of it today to enable more regulations without every scientifically confirming the “frightening and high” recidivism rates.

      Dr. Ellman wasn’t the only person to research this falsehood. Others as well, but the fact Dr. Ellman is a Dr. who did this research work, he is an expert on the matter along with all of his sources within his work.

      This is where Dr. Ellman’s work can finally shine. Then to tack onto that, CASOMB has its recidivism rates. How does less than 1% for two consecutive years fare against the so called high recidivism rates? The past four years recorded by CASOMB have been very low.

      I would actually ask the SCOTUS to produce each state’s individual recidivism rates. In Michigan, they haven’t begun any program to research this. California has with CASOMB. Are there other states that actually have done the research to solidify the claim of “frightening and high” rates? “Where is the burden of proof?” which the Michigan case asked the state of Michigan.

      Let the facts fly often and bring this “frightening and high” falsehood to light. Win that and it puts the SCOTUS on notice that they did not do their job the first time around!

      • Timmr

        Check out a site called Sex Offender Statistics, I believe I saw a list of states’ recidivism rates there.

        • New Person

          Thanks, Timmr!

          I looked at their links for California. It’s quite surprising how more detailed CASOMB has become.

          In 2010, they had failing to register as a new sex offense. The recidivism rate was 5% then.

          In 2015, they have more categories to succinctly identify a new sex offense. The recidivism rate was 0.8%.

          As we learned this past year, it dropped to 0.6%, IIRC.

          I can see Janice and team bringing slides or poster boards with the pie charts. There’s close to 100,000 registrants and growing. Yet, California’s own research team reveals there’s under a 1% chance of recidivism for the past two years. Even with failing to register as a new offense in 2010, the recidivism rate was 5%.

          It seems the registry is useless as law enforcement are being spread thin for less than 1% recidivism? I’m sure CASOMB can update the 2010 pie chart to separate the new offense rate to match contemporary and more precise measurement of recidivism.

  10. mike r

    Its pathetic that these state officials just keep regurgitating the false facts and using under reporting as a valid argument in their responses and getting away with it without any type of vigorous response..My god these cases are just solidifying the governments hold on us and strengthening the precedents….How hard is it to provide arguments like I have in my motion at
    Please moderator post my link to my site.. People complained about me posting my long arguments on here so I created a site that they can choose to look at if they want so Please post it…
    thank you………

  11. Chris F

    Mike R, you need to read this brief for the First Amendment case and incorporate it into yours:

    Brief amicus curiae of The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    This is the BEST argument I’ve seen yet that could be used against ANY Sex Offender law, and the registry itself!

    Please Read!

    • Chris F

      Another good brief submitted by the ACLU:

      I like the briefs submitted more by the groups not affiliated with the original client’s lawyers.

      I think I’ve read all the briefs now, and I still wish I would see a mention of how the law doesn’t work for what it is intended, simply because SOMEONE THAT WANTS TO COMMIT A CRIME AGAINST A MINOR WILL USE A FAKE EMAIL ADDRESS and FAKE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT! They won’t care about the law that prevents them from using Social Media! Ugh…this law was useless to begin with.

      Can Janice or someone get in touch with the lawyers in this case before the Oral Arguments on Feb 27th and have them add this very important point???? It really nullifies the State’s argument!

      • New Person

        Thanks for sharing those briefs! They’re both amazing as they put holes everywhere as well as taking subtle shots at the whole registry by saying a person has served their time with the state, but are still under some sort of custody doesn’t make sense.

      • Lake County

        Oral arguments are only to allow SCOTUS a chance to ASK specific questions to both sides based on the briefs already submitted to the court. It’s too late to try and add any new information not already brought up in the briefs submitted. Plus I find most attorneys don’t appreciate unsolicited advice from other attorneys on how to present their case.

        • Chris F

          That’s a shame.

          I don’t understand why lawyers never bring up the fact that laws created against legal activity in the hopes of stopping illegal activity only harm law abiding citizens since the law breakers are just going to break both laws.

  12. mike r

    Wow Chris i just read those briefs and I am very impressed and encouraged about what the outcome of that individual case will be….I love the fact that they touch on the firearms issue because I have always thought the same thing..How can they take away such a fundamental right as the right to bear arms without any type of nexus between the offense committed or the actual dangerousness the individual poses.This has definitely gave me pause as to what else I should include in my motion because there is a lot of ammunition in those briefs…….


      They take gun rights in a similar fashion as your rights when registered. At one time they had a pathway for felons to petition for gun rights back so it made it legal, much in the way a tiered registry in California will as in Texas as well. As long as you have a way off, they’re good to go.

      The catch though was congress taking away funding for processing of the petitions, effectively closing that path to restoration down. Exactly the same tactic used in the texas registry and the same proposed in California. Just give control of the path off of the registry to the people less likely to give you freedom.

      The path for gun restoration was re-established through lawsuits challenging the effect of cutting funding to a constitutional right but it’ll be awhile till we know how well it’s working.

      I have 3 cases I want to challenge… Registries, gun rights and in general, rights lost period. Why should our rights to vote, protect ourselves, hold office or any right be taken away if it doesn’t relate directly to your crime? Why do they continue on long after you’ve served your time? Why do you have to petition to get them back?

      It all must be challenged.. It’ll be a long road but I will walk it! At my current speed, it’s more a crawl, but I’ll get there. 🙂

  13. mike r iscensored

    hey abolish be sure to read those briefs because they are touching on the exact issues your talking about…although they are not challenging or expressing that all of our rights should be restored after someone does their time they have provided an starting point for such an argument…they make a pretty good argument against all the collateral consequences of a felony conviction…

  14. C L A R K

    North Carolina: the unconstitutional state.
    Auto plates state motto.
    As Chick Hearn would say :
    Our Constitution
    Wins .

  15. Biol57

    Reversed and remanded. Unanimous decision of the Court. Opinion by Kennedy.

    The court rules that the NC statute impermissible restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment.”

    Praise God!

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