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FL: U.S. appeals court: Lifetime computer ban for sex offender doesn’t violate First Amendment

[floridaphoenix.com – 11/30/20]

A federal appeals court has upheld a lifetime ban on computer use for a South Florida sex offender who used text messaging to send a naked picture of himself to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

____ challenged his conviction on grounds including violation of the First Amendment, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously upheld the sanction in a ruling handed down on Monday.

The sentence, which included nearly two years in prison and lifetime conditional release, was “tailored to his offense,” Chief Judge William Pryor wrote. The computer ban was tied to ____ ‘s conditional release, although he can ask his probation officer for permission to use computers for legitimate reasons.

Attorneys for the Hallandale Beach man argued the computer restriction violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017 ruling in Packingham v. North Carolina, in which the court struck down on First-Amendment ground a state law barring registered sex offenders from accessing social media known to attract minors regardless of whether they interacted with minors.

The 11th Circuit panel said there were differences between the cases.

Read the full article

 

Join the discussion

  1. Lovecraft

    I get why he lost (lifetime supervision), but man this just doesn’t sit well with me. I wonder, would this embolden Florida or any state in the 11th to try and retroactively apply this to people not sentenced to lifetime supervision or as a punishment by the court? Even as punishment, a lifetime internet ban is cruel and unusual for anyone and under the plantiffs’ circumstances it seems especially barbaric. Hell, how did he get lifetime supervision? That punishment seems excessive for the crime committed and there wasn’t even a real victim….

  2. Dustin

    As it stands now, the fact that the minor was fictitious is not a defense. Accordingly, I would argue the same logic demands that the original poser and the FBI UA should be charged with endangering the same fictitious minor by arranging a meet with a potential predator.

    • Mike G

      Excellent point Dustin! I like that, but I’m sure the FBI wouldn’t be amused. Apparently, some logic only works in one direction 😒

    • Timmmy

      Should be using the defense of just a naked image by itself does not constitute a sex offense. After all, there are nudist colonies.

  3. A.D.A.T.

    Suggestion,

    Could there be a separate news section on the site called ,” And this week in Florida….” Why in the hell would ANYONE go there if they were in ANYWAY connected to ANYTHING related to the registry.

    • C

      There’s a reason they call it Flori-duh and a local LA radio station hosts a segment called Florida/Not Florida in which the hosts read crazy news stories (often involving potential Darwin Award winners) and callers must guess if the story originated from Florida or not.

      I know much of the country laughs at crap that comes out of CA, so for all I know there’s a call-in show called California/Not California.

  4. Bill

    Take it all the way to the Supreme Court. This internet ban is cruel and unusual punishment because it blocks the poor man’s necessity of essential services like email, looking for employment, and other forms of communication to get through life.

    • SR

      Taking it to SCOTUS probably won’t help as he’s allowed to use the internet for all the important things you’ve mentioned with permission from the PO.

  5. Chris F

    It should be appealed to SCOTUS.

    First amendment means the government must use the least restrictive means possible. A lifetime ban of all internet other than approval of a government agent does not qualify. The government agent can say no without reason and there are no repercussions. This is not narrowly tailored at all.

    What they don’t realize when appeals courts set precedent like this is that it can be applied now to any crime. So someone ordered illegal prescription, sent threatening email, or falsified a tax record online…BOOM…lifetime internet ban. Good for goose…good for gander right?

    • New Person

      Hey, Chris F!

      Long time no see! It’s nice seeing posters from before.

  6. Timmmy

    Odd decision, as courts already stated government blocking people on Twitter was violating first amendment

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