Supreme Court strikes down NC sex offender social media ban
WASHINGTON (WTVD) - The Supreme Court has struck down a North Carolina law that bars convicted sex offenders from Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites.
The justices ruled unanimously Monday in favor of former Durham resident Lester Packingham Jr. His Facebook boast about beating a traffic ticket led to his conviction for violating a 2008 law aimed at keeping sex offenders off internet sites children might use. Packingham now lives in Ohio.
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The court rejected the state's argument that the law deals with the virtual world in the same way that states keep sex offenders out of playgrounds and other places children visit The North Carolina law said registered sex offenders may not use commercial social media sites if they know the site "permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages." In 2013, then Attorney General Roy Cooper said he wanted the law but admitted it may have to be rewritten. "There are laws for soliciting children online and these predators should be convicted to the fullest extent of the law, but that's after the fact," said Cooper. "That's after they have solicited the child. This law works to put a preventive barrier, to prevent that sex offender from going on line to start with." The Associated Press contributed to this report