Ninth Circuit rules on release conditions for child pornography convicts

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday that computer and PO box use restrictions placed on those convicted of child pornography offenses [statute text] are reasonable as long as they are reasonably connected to their conviction and are construed narrowly enough to allow legitimate computer and mail use. The issue came before the court due to a challenge made by Robert Goddard against restrictions placed upon him as conditions of his supervised release [statute text] after he was convicted of downloading and possessing child pornography. The court clarified the limitations placed on computer use and upheld the PO box and other restrictions:

We believe that two of the computer conditions are problematic if broadly construed, because they could be read to prohibit all use of a computer except for work and to make the use of a work computer impracticable. However, these conditions involve no greater a deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary if narrowly construed to allow personal computer use as approved by the probation officer and not to condition routine or automatic software additions, deletions, upgrades, updates, installations, repairs, or other modifications on prior approval. So construed, we approve the computer conditions and conclude that the remaining conditions are also reasonable. [citations omitted]
Last month, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo [official profile] wrote a letter [text, PDF; JURIST report] stating that his office would bring legal action against Comcast Cable Communications [corporate website] unless the company agrees to block child pornography websites and strengthen its reporting requirements. In May, the US Supreme Court held in United States v. Williams [Duke Law backgrounder; JURIST report] that the PROTECT Act [text], aimed at preventing the pandering or solicitation of child pornography, was not unconstitutionally broad or vague, unlike similar laws [Child Pornography Prevention Act] challenged in the past. The decision reversed a ruling [PDF text] by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

 

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