N.C. Sex offenders can use social media

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court struck the North Carolina law that prohibits convicted sex offenders from Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites.

The justices ruled unanimously for defendant Lester Packingham, Jr who boasted on Facebook that he beat a traffic ticket. His use of Facebook led to his conviction for violating a 2008 law aimed at keeping sex offenders off internet sites children might use.

The State argued that the law deals with the virtual world the same way it does in the physical world that seeks to keep sex offenders out of playgrounds and places children visit.

In 2002, Packingham pled guilty to taking indecent liberties with a child. He was indicted for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old. He was ordered to register as a sex offender.

In 2010, a Durham police officer on his own Facebook account sought people who shouldn’t be on the site. He came across Packingham’s post that used an alias. However, the accountalso included a photo and a link used by his father and namesake. Six other registered sex offenders were discovered using Facebook in the same session.