The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday as 36-year-old Lester Packingham Jr. claims a state law violates his constitutional rights to free speech by banning convicted sex offenders like him from social media sites.
A Durham police officer investigated Packingham’s Facebook post and determined he used an alias rather than his real name. Packingham was prosecuted, convicted of a felony and received a suspended prison sentence. His lawyers say no evidence pointed to Packingham using Facebook or his computer to communicate with minors or that he posted anything inappropriate or obscene.
“We have to protect young people wherever they are, whether that’s at school, or at summer camp or increasingly online,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, whose office is defending the law. “This North Carolina law keeps registered sex offenders off of social networking websites that kids use without denying the offenders access to the Internet. It just keeps them off of certain web sites.”
So what do you think? Should Registered sex offenders be able to have a Facebook account? Would this ban violate their First Amendment rights?