Do you think limiting access to social net- working websites such as Facebook infringes a per- son’s First Amendment rights? How do you think the Supreme Court have decided this case? Why? [Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730 (2017)]
In 2010, a North Carolina state court dismissed a traffic ticket against Lester Gerard Packing-ham. Elated by the favorable outcome, Pack-ingham posted a note on his Facebook profile, writing “Man God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court cost, no nothing spent…… Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS!” Shortly after this post. Packingham was
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He was arrested for violating section 14-202.5,
a statute that made it a felony for a registered sex offender to post to a social networking website known by the sex offender to permit children to maintain personal profiles. Packingham had been on the sex offender registry since 2001. At the time Packingham wrote his Facebook post, a member of the Durham Police Department was investigating possible violations of section 14-202.5. The investigating officer obtained a search warrant and discov. ered evidence that Packingham had indeed violated section 14-202.5.
Packingham was indicted by a grand jury and eventually convicted by a trial court and given a suspended prison sentence. The state never alleged that Packingham had engaged in illicit contact with a minor during the trial or sentencing. Packingham appealed to the North Carolina court of appeals. arguing that the North Carolina Law was unconstitutional because it infringed his First Amendment rights. The appeals court accepted Packingham’s argument and the decision was reversed. However. the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the appellate court. Packingham appealed to the United
States Sunreme Court