Sex Offender Ruling Could Mean Less Information for PoliceMatt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Mar 14 2019 12:55 PM
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -A federal court ruling could strike down parts of Alabama’s sex offender law. A recent federal ruling says convicted sex offenders may not have to give internet provider information, instant messages or email addresses to law enforcement. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins calls it “unconstitutional” under the First Amendment. Current state law says sex offenders must let law enforcement know of any and all internet service providers they use.
“If a person went into McDonalds and the court used the word McDonalds and they wanted to get on the internet, they had to report that they were changing their site. They are using a different site. The court ruled that that’s just overbroad. It chills free speech and a person has a right to use a computer,” Roger Appell, a Birmingham attorney familiar with constitutional law said.
The ruling stems from a 2015 case that says the state’s sex offender laws are too broad. In his ruling, Judge Watkins didn’t hold back writing the law is “the most comprehensive and debilitating sex offender scheme in the nation saying no other state’s system comes close.