Should registered sex offenders be allowed to use Facebook?

Most criminal defense attorneys will tell you that laws meant to punish people who have been convicted of sex offenses will tend to paint an overly broad brush.

For example, registered sex offenders in many states cannot legally use social networking sites like Facebook, even though they’ve served their time, which means they cannot use what has become a major form of communication for millions of people worldwide.

In a story by the Associated Press and published on CBS News, lawmakers are struggling to balance the need to protect children from online predators versus the First Amendment right to free speech.

For now, the First Amendment has been taking a beating, although federal judges across the nation have begun to overrule parts of laws that are deemed to go too far.

As the Associated Press reports, a constitutional law professor said, “If we think that the government can curtail sex offenders’ rights without any connection to the actual crime, then it could become a blanket prohibition against anyone who is accused of a crime, no matter what the crime is.”

In other words, we need to be looking at the nature of the crime itself, before we impose a blanket ban on all forms of social networking and similar types of electronic communication. In fact, it’s very similar to the nature of sex offenses generally, in that almost any type of offense that is sexual in nature will result in grave consequences – from the 40-year-old man accused of rape to the 18-year-old man accused of having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend.

If you are charged with a sex crime, contact a Baltimore sex crimes attorney to protect your legal rights.

 

Source: Sex offenders fight for Facebook rights