An Indiana law barring most registered sex offenders from using social networking sites and other online interaction is unconstitutional, the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago ruled in a decision issued today.
The ruling overturned a decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis that had upheld the law.
"We reverse the district court and hold that the law as drafted is unconstitutional," the ruling says. "We conclude that the Indiana law is not narrowly tailored to serve the state's interest. It broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communication to minors."
Pratt ruled in June that the state has a strong interest in protecting children and found that social networking had created a "virtual playground for sexual predators."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the class-action suit on behalf of sex offenders including a man who served three years for child exploitation. They were all restricted by the ban even though they are no longer on probation.