The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether North Carolina can ban registered sex offenders from accessing social media sites that allow access to minors.
Lester Packingham was charged with maintaining a Facebook page in violation of the state’s ban. The North Carolina Supreme Court said the law is constitutional after a lower court said it is not.
“The statute singles out a subclass of persons, who are subject to criminal punishment based on expressive, associational, and communicative activities at the heart of the First Amendment, without any requirement that their activity caused any harm or was intended to,” Packingham’s petition states. According to the petition, the North Carolina law bans registered sex offenders from accessing “a wide array of websites—including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com—that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is ‘know[n]’ to allow minors to have accounts.”
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