Nebraska court strikes down restrictions on internet use for sex offenders on free speech grounds
Professor David Post of Temple Law served as an expert for the plaintiffs — yes, sex offenders — in this case. His focus, as he points out in his Volokh Conspiracy post, was on the overbroad nature of the statute barring internet use by sex offenders, which he believes, and the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska agreed, was beyond what the First Amendment allows.
Your first thought might be “who cares about a sex offender’s free speech rights?”
The answer, of course, is that the Constitution cares, particularly after they have served prison time and otherwise complied with constitutionally sound penalties for their crimes.
The core of the court’s holding lies in the following passage:
The ban not only restricts the exchange of text between adults; it also restricts the exchange of oral and video communication between adults. Moreover, the ban potentially restricts the targeted offenders from communicating with hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of adults and their companies despite the fact that the communication has nothing whatsoever to do with minors.1
This looks to me like a well-meaning statute, meant to keep sex offenders away from kids online, that was very poorly drafted. You could achieve the desired goal using far narrower provisions. I hope someone proposes a corrected statute to that effect.