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Sat Feb 25, 2017, 01:33 PM

Supreme Court weighs law banning sex offenders from Facebook

Source: Associated Press

Supreme Court weighs law banning sex offenders from Facebook

By EMERY P. DALESIO
Feb. 25, 2017 11:07 AM EST

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Fresh from a trip to traffic court, Lester Packingham Jr. celebrated his turn of good fortune by announcing to friends on Facebook that his pending ticket was dismissed without him saying a word.

"No fine. No Court costs. No nothing. Praise be to God. Wow. Thanks, Jesus," Packingham wrote in a 2010 post that led to a lawsuit being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Packingham, 36, was forbidden by a 2008 North Carolina law from using commercial social networking sites like Facebook that children could join. That's because he's a registered sex offender who was convicted of indecent liberties with a minor when he was 21. He served 10 months in prison.

A Durham police officer investigated Packingham's 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.

Now the Supreme Court's task is deciding whether the law, meant to prevent communications between sex offenders and minors via social media, is so broad that it violates the Constitution's free-speech protections.

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Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/9f84e0d20ea54dfcaab94d60542d837a/supreme-court-weighs-law-banning-sex-offenders-facebook

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