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ACLU's Louisiana chapter challenges new state law

As we like to point out on this blog, sex crimes-perhaps more than any other area of law-carry a large social stigma and harsh consequences. Individuals convicted of such crimes often bear the consequences long afterward.

The Louisiana chapter of American Civil Liberties Union, in an attempt to prevent the state from enforcing a new law limiting sex offenders' internet use, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge on Monday.

Under the law, registered sex offenders convicted of crimes involving children are prohibited from "using or accessing social networking websites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks." The new law, which took effect on Monday, was signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal back in June.

Sources said the lawsuit was filed by an anonymous plaintiff who spent four years in prison on charges of child pornography, and now works as a computer repair technician. According to the ACLU, the man may lose his job, which requires the ability to use the internet.

According to the ACLU, the law is vague, overly broad and infringes on constitutional rights. Under the new law, they argue, registered sex offenders are not allowed to use sites like, YouTube, or National Geographic, or any site with features allowing communication between users via comments and content forwarding.

According to Executive Director Marjorie Esman, the new law goes beyond reasonable measures to prevent future crime by banning access to a myriad of online information that has no connection to criminal activity or connecting with children.

Source: CNN, "ACLU seeks to block new Louisiana sex offender law," August 16, 2011.

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