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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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