Packingham v. North Carolina

PETITIONER: Lester Gerard Packingham
RESPONDENT: North Carolina
LOCATION: North Carolina Supreme Court Building

DOCKET NO.: 15-1194
LOWER COURT: North Carolina Supreme Court

GRANTED: Oct 28, 2016

Facts of the case

In 2002 in North Carolina Lester Packingham was accused in prohibited sexual behavior with the minor when he was a student and had 21 years. After Court ruling, he was condemned to 12 months sentence and 24-month supervision after it without some special restrictions except staying away from young persons.

However, in 2010, the Police arrested him after he made a post on his Facebook page. This action was considered a breach of state law regarding prohibition of access to social media websites for offenders committed sexual crimes.

The defendant claimed that the mentioned legislation contradicted with the First Amendment that provided the right of the free expression of thoughts. But the Supreme Court of North Carolina confirmed the constitutionality of laws. It stated that its purpose was to restrict the communication of sex offenders via different websites to prevent the future crimes.

The plaintiff filed a claim to the USA Supreme court. The subject of the issue was limitations of past sex offender`s access to all social media sources using actively by children.

Under the case study, the Court approved the ruling that such legislative act was controversial to the Constitution as its meaning expanded to the rights for free speech and therefore breached them. Under the judgment, such broad restriction as the prohibition of using social media platforms cannot be applied even to avoid crimes because of it restricted fundamental rights more in the way not necessary to adhere the state goals.

The case brief reflected the judicial opinion that such state laws should be interpreted in more preciously limitations, that would not contradict with prior laws and have the preventive crimes purpose.


Does a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing various websites, where minors are known to be active and have accounts, regardless of whether or not the sex offender directly interacted with a minor, violate the First Amendment?