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Indiana Law Banning Sex Offenders From Using Social Media Sites Found Unconstitutional

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court found that an Indiana law banning sex offenders from using social media sites, like Facebook, was unconstitutional. The verdict brought down by the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago found that while the Hoosier state’s original decision was warranted, the “blanket ban” went too far by violating free speech.

The 2008 law was originally put in place to help protect children from convicted sex offenders that may be using social media to prey on potential victims. However, on Wednesday, a judge ruled against this law because it “broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors,” according to the 20-page decision.

Supporters of this week’s decision say that it is unlawful to further punish convicted sex offenders after they have paid their debt to society. “Indiana already has a law on the books that prohibits inappropriate sexual contacts with children,” said ACLU legal director Ken Falk. “This law sought to criminalize completely innocent conduct that has nothing to do with children.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says that his office must first review the verdict before determining what to do next. For now, it appears as if convicted sex offenders in the state of Indiana, once again, have the right to update their Facebook status.

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