Sex offenders, especially those who have to register on the sex offender registry, face a laundry list of requirements and prohibitions. Recently, the United States Supreme Court shot down one prohibition that is associated with these cases.
The Supreme Court ruled that sex offenders can't be banned from using social media. The ruling comes in response to a case that began before social media existed. The sex offender was convicted of charges related to a child. The state's court issued a blanket ban on sex offenders using social media.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court found that a blanket ban on social media use was a violation of the First Amendment rights of sex offenders. While some worry that sex offenders might use social media to find their next victim, the Supreme Court justices were understanding of sex offenders who would want to have the freedom to communicate with others on platforms that are integral to modern society.
The opinion that the Supreme Court issued noted that there is a chance that people convicted of crimes could benefit from being able to access these websites. The Court noted that the chance of convicted parties to be able to use social media platforms to pursue aspects of a reformed life was important to these individuals.
People who are facing sex-related charges and those who are already convicted might be breathing a sigh of relief. Even though this is a big victory, everyone in this position should think carefully about everything they do so that they can avoid facing criminal charge for violating a condition of being a registered sex offender.
Source: FindLaw, "Sex Offenders Can't Be Banned From Social Media," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed June 23, 2017