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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – First Amendment – Sex Offender – Social Networking Sites – First Impression (access required)

State v. Packingham G.S. § 14-202.5, which makes it a crime for a registered sex offender to access a commercial social networking website, is unconstitutional. Although the state has a significant interest in protecting minors from predatory behavior by sex offenders on the internet, the statute applies to sex offenders regardless of whether their offense involved a minor, and it is so broadly worded that it could be read to prohibit a sex offender (1) from accessing sites such as Google and Amazon or (2) from accessing a website to close his account.

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