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Sexual Predator Laws

Courthouse Steps: Packingham v. North Carolina - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Ilya Shapiro March 02, 2017

In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court will decide whether the First Amendment bars a state from banning citizens from accessing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A North Carolina state makes it a felony for any person on the state's registry of former sex offenders to "access" a wide array of websites--including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com--that enable communications among users if the site is known to allow minors to have accounts. The statute does not require the state to prove the defendant has actually had contact with a minor, intended to do so, or accessed a website for any illicit or improper purpose. ​Lester Packingham was convicted of violating the law for a Facebook post in which he celebrated the dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring "God is Good!" Packingham and his supporters contend that law amounts to a sweeping, overbroad, and vague ban on protected speech untailored to any legitimate interest and unjustified by any compelling need.

Featuring:

  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Supreme Court Preview: Packingham v. North Carolina - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Jonathan Sherman, Melissa Arbus Sherry February 23, 2017

On February 27, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Packingham v. North Carolina. This First Amendment case deals with whether a state may bar citizens from accessing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A North Carolina state law makes it a felony for any person on the state's registry of former sex offenders to "access" a wide array of popular websites that enable communications among users if the site is known to allow minors to have accounts. The statute does not require the state to prove the defendant has actually had contact with a minor, intended to do so, or accessed a website for any illicit or improper purpose. In the trial court, the Defendant was convicted of violating the law for a Facebook post in which he celebrated the dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring "God is Good!" Some contend that the law amounts to a sweeping, overbroad, and vague ban on protected speech untailored to any legitimate interest and is unjustified by any compelling need.

Jonathan Sherman, Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner and Melissa Arbus Sherry, Partner at Latham & Watkins will provide a preview of this interesting case.

Featuring:

  • Jonathan Sherman, Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner
  • Melissa Arbus Sherry, Latham & Watkins

Scarlet Letters and Federal Mandates: Reconsidering Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and the Adam Walsh Act - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Eli Lehrer, Nicole Pittman, Stacie D. Rumenap, Marc A. Levin May 12, 2016

Given the understandable public fear of sexual predators, policies concerning sex offenders have often become politicized. Many critics say these policies have too often swept up consensual conduct and conduct by those as young as 10 years old into the same regulatory framework as the most horrific sexual assaults committed by adults. A growing body of research indicates that placement of youths on public sex offender registries, sometimes for the rest of their lives, can have a serious impact on their ability to secure employment and housing, that of their current and future family members. In 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, which threatens states with the withholding of tangentially related federal funds if they do not comply with the federal policy it set forth on public registration of not only adults, but also juveniles, including lifetime registration. Dozens of states have declined to comply with this federal mandate, citing both federalism and cost concerns. On this Teleforum, several experts in the field discussed the impact of current juvenile sex offender registration policies at the federal and state levels as well as proposals for reforms.

Featuring:

  • Eli Lehrer, President. R Street Institute
  • Nicole Pittman, Stoneleigh Fellow and Director, Center on Youth Registration Reform, Impact Justice
  • Stacie D. Rumenap, President, Stop Child Predators
  • Moderator: Marc A. Levin, Policy Director, Right on Crime