Illinois Court Upholds SO Internet Identifier Law

In a ruling that contradicted some previous federal court decisions, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s law requiring registered sex offenders to disclose internet identifiers and websites. 

The case began when a McLean County man who was adjudicated a sex offender as a juvenile failed to tell police about updates to his Facebook page in August 2014.  

Mark Minnis was indicted for failing to register as a sex offender under Section 3(a) of the Sex Offender Registration Act when he did not include the page in registration forms and police found he had changed his cover photo on the social networking site.

The court ruled that the law does not restrict what registrants may say, and any adverse impacts stem from a registrants’ conviction and not from the law itself. The decision contradicts federal court rulings from several other states, including Nebraska.

The court cited federal cases from Nebraska, California and North Dakota in which courts struck down similar statutes, finding that publicly accessible sites such as blogs and forums didn’t “reasonably” pose threats from sex offenders. 

But the justices wrote that “these courts failed to recognize the breadth necessary to protect the public” or engage in the appropriate analysis of the issue.

Read more details of the decision from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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