10th Circuit Rules Special Conditions Allowing Probation Complete Discretion over Internet Use is Excessive

[floridaactioncommittee.org – 8/16/19]

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in US v. Blair, ruled that a special condition on the Defendant’s Internet use that was “limited to those the defendant requests to use, and which the probation officer authorizes” involved a greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for deterring criminal activity because it allows the probation office to completely ban the defendant’s use of the Internet by failing to place any restraints on a probation officer’s ability to restrict a defendant’s Internet access.

Blair argued that this special condition was more restrictive “than is reasonably necessary” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d)(2). The Court agreed.

While THE COURT STILL CAN BAN INTERNET USE, a special condition of release that gives the probation office discretion to ban completely a defendant’s use doesn’t fly because it allows the probation office the discretion to completely ban a means of communication that has become a necessary component of modern life, which is a greater deprivation than necessary.

Read more on the Florida Action Committee website


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The use of the registry reflects the intent, thus judges are pushing back upon the affirmative restraint it is actually being used for.


I am recently released and it came to a complete shock when the probation officer restricted my access to the internet. It is’nt okay with me to not follow the rules but I have tried for many weeks to find someone knowledgable but never a response. I am not seeking legal advice but I need an understanding of United States v. Blair. Since my conviction did’nt involve a computer or internet, does this state that the PO is in the wrong for placing the restriction? I’m in OK.