Monday, January 28, 2013

IN - Senators seek new social networking ban

Original Article



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Two Republican lawmakers are looking for a new way to keep registered sex offenders off social media one week after a federal appeals court found a previous ban unconstitutional.

The proposal would ban Class A felony child molesters and sex offenders convicted of child solicitation from sites such as Facebook.

Republican Sens. Jim Merritt and John Waterman introduced a measure Monday that they say is narrow enough to comply with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The court found Indiana's 2008 ban violated the First Amendment because it was too broad.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana fought the 2008 measure for a man who served three years for child molestation and other sex offenders no longer on probation.


Macintosh said...

If these Senators feel that these restrictions are necessary then write the law so that it is part of the criminal statues as a punishment. The reason they don't do it is because they want to be able to:

1. Apply it retroactively to all sex offenders (avoiding ex-post facto limitations)

2. Apply it to people that were not subject to such restrictions by simply reclassifying a crime as a crime that requires sex offender registration. (avoiding due process)

3. To appear tough on crime without having to be inconvenienced by Constitutional rights.

The Judge who struck down the prior law said that one of the reasons that the law was too broad was because it denied a person the right to Constitutionally protected speech because someone might commit another crime. The Judge wisely concluded that just because someone could commit a crime was not a sufficiently compelling reason to strip citizens of their freedom of speech. This new bill suffers the same flaw. It attempts to be more specific about who this bill applies to, but the new bill still attempts to regulate "pre-crime" simply because someone has been classified as a sex offender.

Here's an interesting thought exercise: Why does the government only consider children or minors to be the only target of a sexually motivated crime? Do politicians feel that children are the only class of citizens worth protecting? Most likely they feel everyone should be protected. Now consider what new restrictions, bans, and conditions they'd have to add to registry laws to protect EVERYONE. Even if they picked an additional group, say women, imagine what places and locations would be off limits for ex-sex offenders. 100 feet from a woman's restroom? 1000 feet from a woman's center? 500 feet from a hair salon? Maybe they'd pick college students to protect rather than women. 1000 feet from a college, university, or institution of higher learning? 500 feet from any house or apartment that a college student lives? Why stop with protecting only children if all sex offenders are of such great danger?

Treborjo said...

Nicely stated Macintosh!