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Man loses challenge to Internet access restrictions

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A convicted sex offender’s probation condition restricting his access to certain websites and programs that are frequented by children does not violate the man’s First Amendment rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Wayne Patton was convicted of Class D felony child seduction for inappropriately touching his teenage daughter’s breasts. He was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. As part of his probation, he was ordered to not access websites, chat rooms or instant messaging programs frequented by children. He signed the form advising him of this condition at sentencing and did not object.

But in Wayne L. Patton v. State of Indiana, 17A05-1210-CR-538, Patton argued that this probation condition is vague and overbroad. He relied on Doe v. Marion County Prosecutor, 705 F.3d 694, 703 (7th Cir. 2013), to support his contention that his First Amendment rights are violated. Although the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found I.C. 35-41-4-12 was not narrowly tailored and struck down enforcement of that portion of the law, it recognized that a trial court might constitutionally limit a defendant’s full access to the Internet as a term of supervised release if such access posed too high a risk of recidivism, the Court of Appeals pointed out. In addition, Patton is in a different position than the class of sex offenders in Doe.

“Because the condition of probation in this case is specifically tailored to only those internet activities that are ‘frequented by children,’ Patton is provided with adequate notice that he would be in violation of his probation by accessing websites that are designed and known to be used by children for communication,” Judge John Baker wrote.

“Also, in light of the vast nature of the internet, it would be virtually impossible for the legislature to list each and every website, chat room, or instant messaging program that permits communication by and among children. In short, because the language of the probation condition afforded Patton a predictable standard and notice with regard to his internet usage during his probationary period, his constitutional claims fail, and we decline to set aside the condition of probation that relates to his internet usage.”

 

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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