Home » Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional, federal appeals court rules

Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional, federal appeals court rules

Says the law is too broad and does not protect children

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 23, 2013) — A federal appeals court ruled today that an Indiana law banning registered sex offenders from using Facebook and other social networking sites is unconstitutional, the Associated Press is reporting.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 4.14.19 PMSaying the ban was too broad, the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals overturned a federal judge’s decision to uphold the law.

In June, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt upheld the law, saying that she had a strong interest in protecting children and found that social networking had created a “virtual playground for sexual predators,” the AP reported. But the appeals court judges said the ban was too broad and did not protect minors.

“We conclude that the Indiana law is not narrowly tailored to serve the state’s interest,” the judges said in a 20-page decision. “It broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communication to minors.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of sex offenders who were banned from using Facebook even though they are no longer on probation.

Similar laws have been barred in Nebraska and Louisiana, the AP said.