Federal Judge To Rule On Indiana Law Banning Sex Offenders From Facebook

The question of whether registered sex offenders should be allowed to use Facebook and other social networks found its way into a courtroom again Thursday, this time in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, where Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she would rule within one month on whether an Indiana law banning the practice is constitutional.

The question of whether registered sex offenders should be allowed to use Facebook and other social networks found its way into a courtroom again Thursday, this time in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, where Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she would rule within one month on whether an Indiana law banning the practice is constitutional.

AP reported that the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is heading the class-action suit on behalf of a man who served three years for child exploitation, as well as other people in similar situations who are off probation.

According to AP, ACLU attorney Ken Falk’s argument was based on the contention that the 2008 state law prevents sex offenders from using Facebook and other social networks for political, business, and religious purposes, adding that Indiana already has a law that bans use of the Internet to contact a child for the purposes of sexual gratification.

Falk added that Facebook and other social media sites are nearly indispensable, saying, according to AP:

It’s not enough to say that the plaintiffs can still write letters or go to meetings. These are not adequate alternatives for instant communication.

Indiana Deputy Attorney General David Arthur countered that the 2008 state law only applies to social networks that children are permitted to access, adding that the ban does not apply to email or Internet message boards, and saying, according to AP:

We still have television. We still have radios. And believe it or not, people still talk face-to-face.

According to AP, similar state laws were defeated in court in Louisiana and Nebraska.

Readers: How do you think the Indiana case will play out?

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