ACLU Attorney Weighs In on Court’s Reversal of Social Media Ban for Convicted Sex Offenders

ACLU Attorney Weighs In on Court’s Reversal of Social Media Ban for Convicted Sex Offenders

ILLINOIS (IRN) — The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision that a ban on social media use by convicted sex offenders was unconstitutional was lauded by one attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

As part of his four-year probation sentence for sexually abusing a minor, Conrad Allen Morger could not use websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. The state’s highest court, however, sided with Morger’s attorney’s argument that the ban had nothing to do with the government’s purpose of rehabilitating a convict.

ACLU senior staff attorney Rebecca Glenberg wrote the amicus brief in the case.

“The court found that this kind of across the board ban violated the First Amendment,” Glenberg said.

Glenberg said the internet is the largest forum in the world for speech and expression, which Morger is entitled to. She added that it is essentially an important tool in everyday life.

“It is very hard to proceed in life nowadays without access to the internet, and in particular, social media websites,” the attorney said.

Glenberg said that because of social media’s roles in self-expression and quality of life, to strip a person from using social media was “cutting them off from a huge source of information.”

“You need to show that it’s reasonable for this person on probation to be denied all of that access,” she said.

Morger had never went online for purposes of finding victims, according to Glenberg.

“There was no reason to believe that allowing [convicts] on social media was going to create some kind of danger to the public,” the attorney said. “And so it was simply unreasonable to ban him from this really important vehicle for free speech.”

The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision on the ban was unanimous among its six participating justices. Chief Justice Anne Burke “took no part in the consideration or decision of this case,” according to the opinion.

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