California Sex Offender Web Use Law Blocked

California can’t enforce a voter-approved law requiring registered sex offenders to disclose their Internet identities and online accounts to police so they can be tracked.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson issued an injunction on January 11 holding that the law’s effort to combat sexual exploitation through registration requirements sweeps too broadly into areas.  He found the law is not narrowly tailored enough and could discourage sex offenders from engaging in legitimate rights to post anonymous comments of issues of social and political significance.

California has over 75,000 sex offender registrants, excluding those in prison or who have been deported, according to the state Department of Justice records.

Henderson said he did not take the action of enjoining, even temporarily, a state statute.

But he added, “registrants are likely to be chilled from engaging in legitimate public, political and civil communications for fear of losing their anonymity.”

The lawsuit was filed by two California sex offenders and the American Civil Liberties Union following the passage of the anti-human trafficking measure, Proposition 35, which received 83 percent of the vote.

The two unidentified male sex registrants argued the act as overbroad on its face.

The law required anyone required to register as a sex offender to notify police within 24 hours if they change or add to their Internet identifiers, service provider or accounts.

The law was temporarily enjoined on Nov. 7, 2012, immediately after its passage, barring implementation.

Friday’s step expands that injunction until a full trial on the merits of the free speech claims can be heard.

Case: Doe v. Harris, C12-5713TEH

 

 

 

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