Technological advancements and changes necessitate new conversations within the legal realm. A specific criminal justice conversation goes deeper because it is becoming a constitutional issue.
The question is this: Do those convicted of sex offenses have the right to utilize the internet and social media in particular? Lawmakers and free speech advocates are engaging in this talk on both the local and federal levels.
At first, it might sound ridiculous to talk about social media in terms of the United States Constitution. How can something called Facebook, for example, be held in such regard that it is a serious platform for free speech?
Platforms and mediums for speech and expression change over time. Whether someone speaks in a public square, through newspaper content or social media, even Supreme Court justices are recognizing that all these forums intersect with constitutional law. Therefore, a convicted sex offender shouldn’t necessarily be banned from the use of social media.
In Tennessee, some specific laws are in place regarding those registered as sex offenders and their use of the internet. Those convicted of offenses that involved internet use and/or social media are not able to have access to those forums. Also, those convicted of violent sex offenses are prohibited from internet use.
Others in Tennessee who are registered as sex offenders might have the right to go online and use social media, but law enforcement also has the right to check up on the online activity of those men and women.
With the Supreme Court evaluating this as a freedom of speech issue, perhaps the rights of Tennessee people convicted of sex crimes will change. If so, we will post an update.
Do you have current concerns about your rights or your potential loss of rights as a convicted sex offender? Talk to a sex crimes defense lawyer in your area to clear up any confusion you might have and to help ease your valid concerns.