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John Doe -v- Prosecutor, Marion County

1-23-2013 Indiana:

John Doe -v- Prosecutor, Marion County 1-23-2013 No. 12-2512.

John Doe -v- Prosecutor, Marion County 2-27-2012



From 1-23-2013 Decision:

A recent Indiana statute prohibits most registered sex offenders from using social networking websites, instant messaging services, and chat programs. John Doe, on behalf of a class of similarly situated sex offenders, challenges this law on First Amendment grounds. We reverse the district court and hold that the law as drafted is unconstitutional. Though content neutral, we conclude that the Indiana law is not narrowly tailored to serve the state’s interest. It broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors. * * *

We conclude by noting that Indiana continues to possess existing tools to combat sexual predators. The penal system offers speech-restrictive alternatives to imprisonment. Regulations that do not implicate the First Amendment are reviewed only for a rational basis. The Constitution even permits civil commitment under certain conditions. But laws that implicate the First Amendment require narrow tailoring. Subsequent Indiana statutes may well meet this requirement, but the blanket ban on social media in this case regrettably does not.

See Article: Indiana's ban on sex offenders using Facebook unconstitutional, court says See also: 7th Circuit strikes down Indiana statute banning sex offenders from social networking sites And this excellent North Carolina Blog Review (Includes case from NC on Appeal).


PDF Decision. [Google Scholar version.]

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