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Should Registered Offenders Tweet?


Once again the information age is upon us and with the advent of social media, the lives of many have changed completely. What used to be conveyed by word of mouth or through a written letter is now widely broadcasted using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays, people are able to share their experiences or thoughts with a myriad of people directly from their phones at any point in the day. The ability to communicate in this fashion has broadened discussion, increased the ability to learn new things, and in general provided the opportunity to share experiences. It goes without saying that with new technology comes a new set of concerns which must be addressed in today’s modern and rapidly changing society.

It has been recently reported that the Supreme Court is likely to strike down a North Carolina law that prohibits registered sex offenders from using social networking sites. Reports say that during arguments, at least five of the Supreme Court justices suggested they were leaning toward ruling against the controversial law. If they rule against it, the precedent would be set and then similar laws in other states would be open to challenge and likely struck down as well.

Proponents of the law argue this law has been put into place to protect children from potential harm. The law is being compared to similar laws which prevent sex offenders from visiting public playgrounds or other areas where children may be present. Proponents recognize children are especially vulnerable to the acts of sexual offenses and could be at a heightened risk, especially via a personal message over social media.

People on the other side argue this is an additional punishment which does nothing more than continually punish reformed offenders. While the protection of children is obviously a major concern, it is nearly a universally accepted opinion that reformed offenders must be re-integrated into society in order to ensure a smooth and efficient criminal justice system. At some point society must accept that re-integrating reformed offenders means restoring some rights which may be controversial when all factors are taken into account.

Maybe a middle ground could be reached? Any law that prohibits the reintegration into society of a reformed offender cannot stand. However, at the same time we must be sympathetic to the concerns of citizens and legislators when it comes to protecting children in this rapidly changing society. Social media has a responsibility to provide a means of monitoring children’s activities when using certain websites and perhaps the burden should be placed on the individual sites to prevent the types of incidents proponents of the law are attempting to avoid. Granted this sort of approach is an imperfect solution, however the law is never perfect - a fact those falsely accused can attest to. But, perhaps this imperfect solution could help mitigate today’s imperfect modern age.

The attorney’s at Bleile & Dawson are extremely knowledgeable in criminal law, especially when it comes to defending our clients against wrongful accusations, whether in the State of Ohio or the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you feel that you have wrongly been accused of a crime and seek to find the best possible representation to fight for you, hire a law firm that puts the client first and fights hard to protect the client. Contact us today for a completely confidential consultation at 513-564-0088.

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