Judge Strikes Down NE Law Barring Registered Sex Offenders from Social Media

A federal judge in Nebraska has declared unconstitutional a state law forbidding registered sex offenders from using social media. Judge Richard Kopf said the law wrongly bars offenders “from using an enormous portion of the Internet to engage inexpressive activity.” He said it “potentially restricts the targeted offenders from communicating with hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of adults and their companies despite the fact that the communication has nothing whatsoever to do with minors.”
Kopf said the statute was flawed because it “is not narrowly tailored to target those offenders who pose a factually based risk to children through the use or threatened use of the banned sites or services. The risk posited by the statute is far too speculative when judged against the First Amendment.” David Post, an expert witness for offenders challenging the law, commented that, “To tell someone, as Nebraska had done here, that because of your prior conviction you will never be permitted, in effect, to use the Internet for just about anything [ ] is a crushing blow for someone who might — just might — be trying to put his life back together, and it virtually guarantees that he will not be able to do so.”

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