The law defines a “commercial social networking website” as one that derives revenue from membership fees or advertising, facilitates social introductions and allows users to create pages to post information.
Though the law makes exceptions for websites that provide narrow services such as email, the three-judge N. appeals court panel that ruled in the case said it could prohibit a registered sex offender from accessing Google, Amazon or even a cooking TV channel website because the sites provide secondary social networking forums.
Many states have laws that require sex offenders to provide information about their internet use to authorities.
States also limit internet use as a condition of parole or probation.
Even convicted criminals – and in some instances especially convicted criminals – might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives.” The state Court of Appeals ruled the law was too broad and restricted Parkingham’s free speech. The 2008 restriction was part of a legislative package that Roy Cooper, the state Attorney General at the time, advocated for many years. Packingham argued that prohibiting him from using social media sites is a violation of his rights to “free speech, expression, association, assembly and the press under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Packingham was convicted in 2002 of taking indecent liberties with a child. Though many of those sites now are more widely used by adults than children, the North Carolina law makes it illegal for a registered sex offender to access a website where he or she knows minors have personal web pages.
In 2010, Durham police began investigating Myspace and Facebook profiles to enforce the law. “Even with these assumptions about the scope of the law and the State’s interest, the statute here enacts a prohibition unprecedented in the scope of First Amendment speech it burdens,” Kennedy’s ruling states.
Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case.Having sex with a minor in violation of age of consent laws is considered a strict liability offense, so it does not matter if someone had a good-faith, mistaken belief, or even if they were lied to.If you believe you have violated North Carolina's age of consent law, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Supreme Court has overturned a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from using Facebook or other social networking sites that minors can join.The case raised questions about whether such laws prohibit sex offenders from participating in web-based forums, which have become virtual town squares, as they re-enter society.North Carolina’s sex offender laws require people convicted since 1996 of sexually violent offenses and specific crimes against children to register with the sheriff’s office in the counties where they live.Those on the registry may not live close to schools or daycares.“In sum, to foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights,” Kennedy’s ruling states. Packingham was convicted in May 2012 of violating the 2008 social media ban and received a suspended sentence and probation.“It is unsettling to suggest that only a limited set of websites can be used even by persons who have completed their sentences. Supreme Court overturned that ruling, saying in a 4-2 decision that the “incidental burden imposed” upon convicted sex offenders “is not greater than necessary to further the governmental interest of protecting children from registered sex offenders.” In North Carolina, where 14,268 people are entered in the N. Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry database, civil liberty organizations have paid close attention to Packingham’s case. The 2008 legislative package came about at a time that state attorneys general across the nation were raising concerns about social media sites such as Facebook and Myspace, hoping to protect users from sexual predators using the networks.Louisiana has a law similar to North Carolina's, but unlike the N. law just struck down, Louisiana’s applies only to people convicted of sex crimes with children, according to a document filed in Supreme Court.Glenn Gerding, the Chapel Hill attorney who represented Packingham, argued several years ago that the law as written could make it difficult for a registered offender to engage in routine Internet activity, such as a Google search.