Should Sex Offenders Be Allowed to Use Facebook?

Two attorneys in North Carolina are fighting the 2008 state law barring registered sex offenders from using social networking sites like Facebook.

The lawyers say it’s unconstitutional to prevent sex offenders from using the sites, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Of the 75 sex offenders charged in the state last year, eight were caught maintaining accounts on Facebook and MySpace. Two of those men, Christian Martin Johnson and Lester Gerard Packingham, hired lawyers to challenge the law.

Johnson’s lawyer said that the regulation does not just keep a sex offender from engaging in obscene speech with a minor – it prohibits all speech “however innocent,” according to the News Observer.

Packingham’s lawyer said the law keeps her client from communicating with friends and promoting his business on the social network.

There are other ways registered sex offenders can communicate, like by mail or telephone, said North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, who sponsored the law as a state senator. “When you are deemed to be a sexual predator, sometimes you do not have the full rights of every citizen out there,” he told the newspaper.

From what I could tell, every state has a different law for sex offenders and social media, but according to Facebook’s terms, all convicted sex offenders are barred from the social networking site.

Do you think that preventing registered sex offenders from logging onto Facebook is unconstitutional?

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Two attorneys in North Carolina are fighting the 2008 state law barring registered sex offenders from using social networking sites like Facebook.

The lawyers say it’s unconstitutional to prevent sex offenders from using the sites, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Of the 75 sex offenders charged in the state last year, eight were caught maintaining accounts on Facebook and Myspace. Two of those men, Christian Martin Johnson and Lester Gerard Packingham hired lawyers to challenge the law.

Johnson’s lawyer said that the regulation does not just keep a sex offender from engaging in obscene speech with a minor – it prohibits all speech ‘however innocent,’ according to the News Observer.

Packingham’s lawyer said the law keeps her client from communicating with friends and promoting his business on the social network.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who sponsored the law as a state senator said that there are other ways registered sex offenders can communicate, like by mail or telephone. “When you are deemed to be a sexual predator, sometimes you do not have the full rights of every citizen out there,” he said according to the article.

From what I could tell, every state has a different law for sex offenders and media, but according to the Facebook terms, those who are a convicted sex offender are not allowed to be on the social networking site.

What’s the law like in your city? Do you think that preventing registered sex offenders from logging onto Facebook is unconstitutional? Does it violate free speech?

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