A federal judge called a Louisiana law, banning certain sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites a “constitutionally problematic” statute. However, he did not decide Wednesday whether to throw out the embargo, which took the result in August.
U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, based in Baton Rouge, heard arguments from a lawyer, which represents two convicted sex offenders who seeks in overturning the law, and from the attorney general’s office that defends the statute.
The judge said he will make a ruling following the final arguments that are going to be filed by Nov. 23.
Earlier this year, lawmakers, backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, passed the ban. They said it got designed to keep sex offenders from preying on children in online forums.
The law, sponsored by Rep. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, makes it for people already convicted with sex offense against a minor or video voyeurism to let them use networking websites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks.
Those who are under probation and parole officers and judges can make exceptions.
According to the ACLU of Louisiana, the law is too wide and it and violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Harrison reveals the terms used in the law forbid sex offenders from browsing any website, allowing users in creating profiles concerning themselves or that has chat rooms, instant messaging and e-mail. Harrison said that sweeps in everything from news websites to job search sites and the official Louisiana hurricane awareness website.
Jackson noted the statute looks in forbidding them from using the federal court website.
Harrison said that the two sex offenders identified in the proceedings are John Doe, and James Doe is going to be limited from jobs and their ability in staying productive, contributing members of society. As of now, they are pursuing the civil suit against state officials and their local district attorneys.
Kurt Wall, with the attorney general’s office, said the state corrections secretary hand out a regulation last month in an effort to clarify that its never designed in including a prohibition on news sites, but places like Facebook and MySpace.
The judge, however, said that only covers the probation and parole officers under the corrections department, not district attorneys who could choose to prosecute people under the ban for wider Internet practice.
Wall also disputed the law should not be challenged in anticipation of the time a person prosecuted under it or encountered the types of problems the ACLU explained as possible. He said no one has even tried in getting the waiver allowed in the law.