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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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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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