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SCOTUS: Sex Offenders Can Access Facebook, High Court Says

Sex offenders who have already served their sentences enjoy a First Amendment right to use social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter, according to a June 19 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court ( Packingham v. North Carolina , 2017 BL 208397, U.S., No. 15-1194, 6/19/17 ). …

But Ira Ellman, a law professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Phoenix, said one line in the majority opinion could be an indication that the court is going to grant certiorari in a case that deals with other types of lifestyle restrictions for former offenders on the sex offender registry: Snyder v. Does. Full Article

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Ahh…a heartwarming (to us) piece to brighten my day. Let’s hope Kennedy is indeed doing a slow, sly telegraph.

Oh, the poor DAs, LEOs and rabid, salivating legislators who may lose their latest pariahs and whipping boys (and girls).

They will move from one pariah to the other. Just like everything else in this country, everything has a cycle period. One thing is for certain, the U.S. government needs a scapegoat pariah or a war on something. Always has.

Looks like they want drug offenders to be the next batter up (again). This time with Attorney General Sessions at the helm with his ” renewed drug war “.

I normally don’t shout with caps too much, but the emphasis must be made. Whoever is the NEXT litigant to go for the court MUST incorporate PROVEN VERY LOW RECIDIVISM RATES in court as a PRIMARY focus of their argument! This is key. Once we find out who any litigants are for any court, ACSOL, among others, MUST contact the lawyer staff who is arguing for our side. In addition, a STRONG amicus curiea brief has to be communicated with the justices indicating said very low recidivism rates. This is an ABSOLUTE, UNEQUIVOCAL NECESSITY for any major case involving registrants.… Read more »

I’d take the opposite track. Prove the SCOTUS was using faulty information from an non-expert with no proper tutelage in research work. Then, continue on with identifying misleading statistics that aren’t comparing apples to apples, meaning the same denominator, when trying to enhance the threat to public safety. Prove that their evidence was faulty first. That’s more important as it shows erroneous workings initially by the SCOTUS, just like the Korematsu case. Not only that, but service to the state after completing one’s punitive dues makes no sense as it’s not punishment. Welp, that ventures into involuntary servitude. To me,… Read more »

Oh Alito. “Putting the Internet on par with public spaces could negatively affect states’ abilities to regulate Internet usage in lawful ways, such as preventing convicted sex offenders from registering on teen dating websites, Alito wrote.” Because a 35-year-old non-sex offender creating a profile on a teenage dating website doesn’t send up any sort of red flags? Seriously, man. Think before you speak! I would’ve loved for someone to directly throw back at him what I just said. People who aim to commit these crimes will not adhere to any restrictions. All you’re doing is criminalizing non-criminal activity for citizens… Read more »

As I understand we can now use Facebook? In California?

Legally, yes. California seems to have the fewest restrictions for RC’s that have completed their supervision. However, FB specifically has a clause that states RC’s are not welcome, and they will in fact shut down your account. It’s not illegal, but it’s also not welcome.

I’ve had an FB account since it opened for non-college students in 2006. No problems yet. Many of my FB “friends” are high school friends from 33 years ago who know and don’t care, or knew and forgot, about my 30-year old conviction. They’d be the first to out me to Zuckerberg et al, but don’t. As much as I hate FB and it’s role in the cyber revolution (everything about everyone at the world’s fingertips), I think it help’s push bad search results about me down below the fold. If you Google my name, you’ll get lots of links… Read more »

Count yourself lucky. They closed my Facebook down one day; no warning. The automated notification said I was banned for harassing behavior. I never added anyone i didn’t know; was never the one to request a friendship, and didn’t post offensive stuff. Model member. When I emailed Facebook and asked, I was told “You know why.” That was it. They wouldn’t let me retrieve my pictures, which I stupidly had ONLY saved on Facebook. All my family and friends photos gone. I use my first initial in place of my name, now. Had it for years without issue. They don’t… Read more »

“They wouldn’t let me retrieve my pictures, which I stupidly had ONLY saved on Facebook. All my family and friends photos gone.”

Sadly, people tend to ignore the FB ToS which, like a number online operators, pretty much says, “we have rights to anything and everything you put on our site.”

I read the article this morning and it struck me that “our” analysis of what Kennedy’s parenthetical statement had merit but also to have even a deeper analysis was a good reinforcement that we may have some hope here. The analysis of how Kennedy has telegraphed his intension in the past was interesting. Just just hope that Kennedy stays on the Court for at least one more year.

The recidivism data is sinking in. I think Packingham showed how far the SCOTUS has moved towards a reasonable position.

What the hell is a teen dating site? Last time I checked all dating sites were for adults only, due to liability issues. I say someone is talking out their… Most dating sites are pay-to-play, which requires a credit card, to get any meaningful use out of them. Additionally, most of those sites will check each person against the registry (and have it in their TOS). Two weeks after I was off the registry I registered at one such dating site, and they revoked my membership three weeks later because “I was a registered sex offender.” After going rounds with… Read more »

I really hope in Snyder they pound home recidivism rates and pound home justification for the registry…

I meant there’s no justification for the registry or any of the other laws for that matter….

Before everyone celebrates too much, please remember that Facebook is a private (abeit publicaly traded) company. As such, it has the right to exercise its rights under “Castle Law,” and can still ban “undesirables.”

What’s their point about registrants on social media as long as they keep themselves out of trouble, they think that registrants shouldn’t be on social media because they recidivate at a high rate and prey on children? Maybe the real predators are these politicians that keep wanting to pass crazy laws that are the problem and have gotten involved in some criminal acts including sex offenses.

============================== Parenthetically, Kennedy wrote: “Of importance, the troubling fact that the law imposes severe restrictions on persons who already have served their sentence and are no longer subject to the supervision of the criminal justice system is also not an issue before the Court.” ============================== Allow me to present the 13th Amendment, Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Registrants are “serving to these restrictions”, handed down by the state. Essentially, still serving… Read more »

I like that quote. While that quote certainly adds teeth to a challenge of involuntary servitude, I see it more as a jab at the entire scheme that operates outside of the criminal justice system and without judges discretion in particular. The legislature has essentially created a new and separate “justice” system under their own control, without constitutional protections and violating the separation of powers. The purposes of correctional agencies are to punish, to rehabilitate, and to ensure public safety. They work closely with the Judiciary to ensure fairness. This SHOULD be the only system in place as it has… Read more »

@Chris F “The legislature has essentially created a new and separate ‘justice’ system under their own control, without constitutional protections and violating the separation of powers.” >>>Hmm…sound devilishly like a Bill of Attainder. Also, from the Pepperdine Law article about Bills of Attainder that you (I think) previously supplied, citing The Federalist Papers: “The Framers believed barriers had to be erected so that the legislature would not overstep its authority and perform functions of other branches of government, namely the judiciary. The Bill of Attainder Clause was erected to be such a barrier.” ( Yup, sure sounds like what we… Read more »

Agreed. The SCOTUS deemed sex offenders as one class, as per one of the five MM factors why registration was regulatory. In their stead of keeping registration under service to the state, they forgot about the 13th amendment. If it’s not punishment, then it’s prohibited. Remember, time is precious. Some people charge by the hour. So if it takes only 5 minutes to fix something, you’ll get paid by the hour. Some football players get paid millions and play (work) for 3 1/2 hours. Actually less than that b/c some play only offense, only defense, or only special teams. A… Read more »

@New Person. EXACTLY!!!!

That is an unfortunate lead into the story. It should say former offenders who have done their time can access facebook.
No wonder this high recidivism lie can’t get out of the collective conscience.


Where on Facebook does it distinguish a “Registered” vs. “Non-registered” sex offender. Facebook just states its policy is to ban “convicted” sex offenders. I have found no article or text that states that Facebook restores rights and no longer bans a convicted sex offender from using Facebook once they have completed their Megan’s Law Registration requirement. Convicted is convicted, no? As a registrant fortunate enough to be nearing completion I would like to know.

I worded that poorly. I meant to only criticize the misleading and defamatory headline. We may have been convicted of a sex crime, sometimes decades ago, but that doesn’t make us sex offenders in the present tense or forever sex criminals, which is what the headline means to convey.

Does anyone know what effect, if any, this has on those of us in states requiring identifiers? I moved to such a state (one known for its silver and casinos) recently and deactivated my fb account rather than give them the information.

I don’t believe it effects in any way. Identifiers don’t prevent you from using FB or anything else. This was a case that completely banned a persons ability to use FB other sites. Identifiers, like all of registry BS, is a “minor inconvenience”.

I think Packingham could be leveraged into stopping some of the Internet identifier stuff. As I’ve posited some other place on here, the State having my IDs automatically has a chilling effect on my free speech, particularly as a RC who wishes to speak against the State. (SCOTUS has already upheld one’s right to anonymous free speech, for this very reason.) It’s also my opinion that the State supplying my IDs to social media is akin to a blacklisting me from exercising my right to free speech. Imagine if every Saturday, there is an open session in the town square… Read more »

See this – NARSOL calls on Zuckerberg, Facebook to change policy:

I don’t know why someone hasn’t sued Farcebook already on the grounds of discrimination based on Nationality. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of national origin. Farcebook is a global commerce business that is selectively banning Americans with past convictions and possibly a couple other countries that have a public registry ( although we can’t even be certain of this) . Are people in the other 190 countries around the world with past convictions barred from signing up on their website? What tool do they use to vet non-… Read more »

I wondered that, too. Like terrorists or misogynists. He provides a great platform to recruit disenchanted youth, who want to blow up hundreds of kids listening to music, but oh the mythical dirty old man lurring children to his lair, who is really just a once teenager who had sex with another teenager and wishes to just to get beyond that and talk with his friends and family– he’s got to be muzzled.
Zuckerberg is maybe a great marketer but other than that a great idiot.

As a RC in the UK we are told that while on the reg we can not access face book if we do the police will report it to facebook and it will be removed also the amount of time you are comvicted for also has an impact on how long you have to sign if you get more than a 36 month sentence you are deemed to habe to sign for the rest of your life i habe been out of prison for 4 years now i finkshed my probation last year and because i got a 6 year… Read more »

The ruling merely states that NC law was too broad and unconstitutional. It does not say it’s ok to have a facebook account! that’s a big difference

Can someone please provide insight…

Where on Facebook does it distinguish a “Registered” vs. “Non-registered” sex offender. Facebook just states its policy is to ban “convicted” sex offenders. I have found no article or text that states that Facebook restores rights and no longer bans a convicted sex offender from using Facebook once they have completed their Megan’s Law Registration requirement. Convicted is convicted, no? As a registrant fortunate enough to be nearing completion I would like to know.

It only stated convicted meankng thay anyone with a sexual offence is banned from accessing facebook

Apparently if you are a celebrity this facebook ban does not apply….

On a related note, he also has an upcoming show in Ireland. I thought Ireland was on the no-go list. Confused.

California does its primary business (California) prohibits such discrimination against sex offenders. See California code 290.46 subsection L(2)(H): 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. However, the most interesting part is the “services provided” part. Facebook Portal (hardware device) is sold nationwide similar… Read more »

I wouldn’t buy anything related to Facecrook. Not today or ever. I’m sure I own a lot of their stock though and I’d love to be divested from it. I’d love if there were a divestiture campaign against them similar to those against immoral companies in the past. They are being attacked from every angle though. I am helping those attacks, even some that I don’t agree with. I’ll support it anyway, just because Facecrook is immoral. There are a lot of people attacking them. Everyone should pile on. Someone ought to contact Facecrook and tell them that you are… Read more »

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