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Court rules even sex offenders can use Facebook

Florida residents may be wary of how sex offenders use technology. However, the Supreme Court ruled on June 19 that they can still use social media. The court reasoned that the tool has become too important as a source of information to bar them from doing so. This ruling was in response to a law in North Carolina that made it a felony for sex offenders to view sites like Twitter or Facebook.

The court ruled that the state's law had violated the First Amendment. Justice Kennedy wrote that criminals may engage in an exchange of ideas that could lead them to changing their ways. The case in question centered around a man who received two years of supervised probation after being convicted of a sex crime in 2002. In 2010, the man used Facebook after being cleared of a parking ticket.

While the court views the case as clarifying the relationship between the internet and the right to free speech, not all agreed with the decision. A deputy attorney general for North Carolina compared the law to one that forbid political speech within 100 feet of a polling place. He then claimed that social media was used to gain information about victims in a majority of online sex crimes against minors.

Those who are accused of sexual assault against children may face significant penalties. In addition to spending time in jail or prison, it may be necessary to register as a sex offender. This may make it harder to find work and limit where a person may live. An attorney can often construct a strategy to combat the allegations.

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Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
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